15. Dead Man (1995)

Roger's Rating :

Should be :

I've seen this movie about five times and each time I have seen I have liked it better. I was really surprised to see the negative review by Roger on it. Roger only gave it 1 1/2 stars. He said :
"Jim Jarmusch is trying to get at something here, and I don't have a clue what it is. Are the machines of the East going to destroy the nature of the West? Is the white man doomed, and is the Indian his spiritual guide to the farther shore? Should you avoid any town that can't use another accountant? Watching the film, I was reminded of the original William Blake's visionary drawings and haunting poems. Leaving the theater, I came home and took down my Blake and spent a very pleasant half-hour. So the evening was not a loss."
I was a little disappointed that because Roger didn't get what Jarmusch was saying he was willing to dismiss it so quickly (I don't think the poetry of William Blake is too easy to get either.) I'll be the first to admit that I don't have a great understanding of what Jarmusch was trying to get at, but that just makes it more interesting for me. As William Blake moves across the country we see the people on the train change from change from well dressed Easterners to animal skin clothed primitives. I think the movie is talking about the negative impact that the white man had on the West. It looks at the senselessness of racism, hate, greed and violence. It also looked at the environmental destruction that "progress" brought to the land. William Blake begins his journey as an innocent and gradually takes on the trappings of those around him. Nobody, who is neither an Indian or a white, helps to guide him on his journey towards death.
It was fun to just watch Johnny Depp, Robert Mitchum. and Gary Farmer and to listen to the haunting guitar score by Neil Young. A strange, unsettling and very entertaining movie.
Overall, despite the slow pace that the movie travels at and its art house style (it's in black and white), the movie is very popular. It has a 7.7 rating on IMDB and 71% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
I think Roger should put down his poetry for a little while and give this movie another chance.

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