Dead Man movie poster
  • Rated R

Not even the thirstiest of Western fans could work up much enthusiasm over the news that Jim Jarmusch, of all people, had made one. And the emerging manhunt for a greenhorn named William Blake (Johnny Depp in wire-rim specs, plaid suit, bow tie) produces nothing to accelerate the heartbeat: the pace never approaches so much as a trot, never exceeds that of the kiddies' pony ride at the state fair. Clip-clop, clip-clop. It's exactly the kind of Western that might have been expected of Jarmusch. Arty. Anti. Absurdist yet "mythic." Mystic yet grimy. Fashionably flattering of Indians and besmirching of whites. Highfalutin. Dryasdust. As a movie, if only for the superb black-and-white photography of Robby Müller, it's not nothing. As a Western, it's worse than nothing -- the strict equivalent, for those thirsty Western fans, of the canteen in a much-anthologized Max Brand story, in which, you might recall, the fleeing desperado discovers too late under the desert sun that his nemesis has filled his flask not with water but with wine. Gary Farmer, Lance Henriksen, Michael Wincott, Robert Mitchum. 1995.

Duncan Shepherd

This movie is not currently in theaters.


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