Dead Man

Released 1995


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Movie Summary

Jim Jarmusch
Dead Man is a 1995 existential western directed by the great Jim Jarmusch. The film follows a man named William Blake (played by Johnny Depp). He is not the famous poet but shares his name. Blake is traveling to the extreme Western frontiers of America in the late 19th century. Blake ends up wounded and lost in the wilderness. There he is found by a strange outcast Native American called Nobody (played by Gary Farmer) Nobody believes that Blake really is the dead English poet William Blake. Nobody helps William get through the wilderness and they fall into wild and strange situations that transform Blake into a killer and hunted outlaw. Now bounty hunters are after him. The film is strange and poetic and shot in brilliant black and white. The film has a weird and eclectic supporting cast featuring Crispin Glover, Lance Henriksen, John Hurt, Iggy Pop, Gabriel Byrne, and others.

Metacritic Score

  • 90

    Los Angeles Times Jack Mathews

    Its characters are as entertainingly quirky as any he's given us before, and his familiar themes -- strangers in a strange land, lives reformed by chance encounters -- are played o...

  • 50

    The New York Times Stephen Holden

    The film's energy begins to flag after less than an hour, and as its pulse slackens it turns into a quirky allegory, punctuated with brilliant visionary flashes that partially rede...

  • 50

    Variety Todd McCarthy

    Like his previous efforts, Jarmusch's sidelong take on Western conventions relies upon quirky tone, hipsterish performances and a highly refined visual style to put it over.

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