Directed by Jim Jarmusch
Running time: 121 minutes
Dead Man (1995) is American independent director Jim Jarmusch's sixth film; a surreal and alternative take on the Western but also, some assert, a sharp critique on modern American life. William Blake (Johnny Depp) is a newly orphaned accountant who leaves his job in Cleveland, Ohio to take up a new post in the frontier town of Machine. On his arrival, however, he's told the job has already been filled and after a night with a prostitute and a violent altercation with the woman's lover, flees into the wilderness. Blake has a bullet lodged in his chest – and is, literally, a walking dead man – until he meets a Native American named Nobody (Gary Farmer). Nobody is convinced he has met an incarnation of the poet and 'real' William Blake and decides to be Blake's guide through his passage into the spirit world. Described by the director as a “Psychedelic Western”, the movie is entirely shot in black and white and has a specially composed sound track by Neil Young, with improvised passages added after Young watched the final footage. Notable for its scenes containing the Cree and Blackfoot dialects, Dead Man is extremely well researched in regard to the Native American culture that it portrays and one of the few films that actually uses an Indigenous American actor (Farmer). Set in the 19th century (albeit with plenty of allusions to the 20th) it references Blake's poetry throughout, in particular, the poems Auguries of Innocence and The Marriage of Heaven and Hell. Featuring Robert Mitchum in his last film role, Dead Man is a truly postmodern film – worth watching for the haunting soundtrack alone – and one of the best movies of the 1990s.
Reservation is not necessary, but places are limited. Please arrive early to avoid disappointment.