Daily Archives: February 14, 2021

Acid Western

From the Chicago Reader (June 28, 1996). This essay subsequently grew into a book, commissioned by Rob White for the BFI Modern Classics, that came out in 2000, proved to be one of my most popular, and went into a second edition; a French edition is also available (2005), translated by Louis Malle’s daughter Justine, as well as a Czech edition and even an unauthorized Farsi one. —  J.R.

Dead Man

Rating **** Masterpiece

Directed and written

by Jim Jarmusch

With Johnny Depp, Gary Farmer, Lance Henriksen, Michael Wincott, Eugene Byrd, Mili Avital, Gabriel Byrne, John Hurt, Iggy Pop, Billy Bob Thornton, Jared Harris, Jimmie Ray Weeks, Mark Bringelson, Michelle Thrush, Alfred Molina, Robert Mitchum, and Crispin Glover.

When we speak of “seriousness” in fiction ultimately we are talking about an attitude toward death. — Thomas Pynchon

Jim Jarmusch’s Dead Man, a disturbing, mysterious black-and-white western, opens with someone named William Blake (Johnny Depp), a recently orphaned accountant from Cleveland, traveling west on a train with the promise of a job at a metal works in a town called Machine. He keeps dozing off and waking to new sets of fellow passengers, including several who fire their guns out the windows at a herd of buffalo. Read more