Dead Man is not your typical western, but then I get the feeling it’s the only western director Jim Jarmusch could have possibly made. It is a film of reflective ideology, where the destinies of each of its characters are laid out on an entirely different plane of existence from our own, one influenced, in equal parts, by literature and mysticism.
Though shot entirely in black and white, the characters that inhabit the world of Dead Man are nonetheless very colorful. Gary Farmer’s Nobody is equally versed in both Native American tradition and English poetry. John Dickinson (Robert Mitchum) is a nasty old guy who spends most of his time talking to the stuffed bear in his office, and the three men whom he hires to track down William Blake (Johnny Depp) are a peculiar crew, to say the least. There is Cole Wilson (Lance Henrikson), a cold-blooded killer who seldom speaks, Conway Twill (Michael Wincott), a gunslinger who never shuts up, and a young man by the name of Johnny Pickett (Eugene Byrd), also known as ‘The Kid’, who doesn’t know what to make of either of his two companions. Jarmusch has given every character in this film a distinctive, engaging personality, and they all, at one point or another, put forth their own view of the world around them.
As the real William Blake once said, “When the doors of perception are cleansed, man will see things as they truly are, infinite”. With Dead Man, director Jarmusch does more than just cleanse these doors: he pushes us straight through them.
Please leave a comment below... I'd love to hear from you