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Dead Man This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   For anyone who is tired of formulaic Hollywood movies, I highly recommend director/screenwriter Jim Jarmusch's hypnotic film, "Dead Man," starring Johnny Depp. In this haunting, mysterious tale, a young man from Cleveland named William Blake (played by Depp) travels West after the death of his parents. He believes there is an accounting job waiting for him in the town of Machine. As viewers see William Blake inquisitively exploring Machine and its muddy streets, many images of death are noticeable, including a coffin-maker's shop, and cattle skulls and bones along the curb. His quest for work in this town proves unfruitful, and he soon becomes a man with a price on his head and a bullet in his torso.

The story unfolds as Blake is found and cared for by an educated Native American outcast, called Nobody (Gary Farmer), who believes that this lone white man is the poet, William Blake. Nobody's random bits of wisdom and recitations of "some are born to sweet delight, some are born to endless night," may give us clues to Blake's destiny. On their journeys through the West, these wanderers encounter a trio of vagabonds (played by Jared Hams, Billy Bob Thornton, and Iggy Pop), law enforcement officials, and a dead fawn, while being chased by bounty hunters. William Blake finds his destiny far from Cleveland in the Pacific Northwest. Blake's fate is linked to legendary King Arthur, as we see him drifting out to sea in a canoe. Few characters survive by the end of the film, which must be one of the most original in modern cinema history.

I loved this offbeat western for its sense of mystique, as well as its singular sense of humor. I found its independent spirit admirable, and comparatively rare to most movies produced recently. Jim Jarmusch's unique touches add to the film's originality and flavor. Though entirely in black and white, "Dead Man" is one of the most colorful films available on the video store shelf. The characters, though more than slightly unrealistic, will remain in my mind for a long time, especially the character William Blake, the man forced to defend himself from a corrupt society


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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