Johnny Depp (CHOCOLAT) delivers a remarkable performance in this highly acclaimed tale of adventure and intrigue in the wild, wild west! A young man in search of a fresh start, William Blake (Depp) embarks on an exciting j... more »ourney to a new town ... never realizing the danger that lies ahead. But when a heated love triangle ends in double murder, Blake finds himself a wanted man, running scared -- until a mysterious loner teaches him to face the dangers that follow a "dead man." With an outstanding supporting cast including Gabriel Byrne (THE USUAL SUSPECTS) and Robert Mitchum (CAPE FEAR), and a sizzling soundtrack, DEAD MAN is another motion picture triumph from filmmaker Jim Jarmusch.« less
James B. (wandersoul73) from LINDALE, TX Reviewed on 6/22/2009...
Simply beautiful! I love the black and white film and the whole Neil Young score. Johnny Depp truly shines here.
2 of 2 member(s) found this review helpful.
Jason C. (JJC) from NEWARK, NJ Reviewed on 12/28/2007...
Beautifully shot in rich black and white, "Dead Man" follows the story of William Blake (Johnny Depp), a conservative accountant en route to his new job as head accountant at a metal works factory in the industrious town of Machine. All starts to go down hill, when the job has been given to someone else and the metal works owner John Dickinson (the legendary Robert Mitchum) doesn't want to hear Blake's rant, so much that he's ready to kill him in cold blood if he doesn't leave the grounds!
Penniless and nowhere to go, Blake runs into Thel (Mili Avital), a beautiful prostitute that quickly befriends then beds Blake at a local hotel. The next morning, Charlie Dickinson (Gabriel Byrne), John's son, enters Thel's room. We realize that Charlie and Thel have a past history. After some words, Charlie shoots Thel in the chest which goes through her and hits Blake in the chest...in the same breath Blake kills Charlie. Blake leaves the hotel, steals Charlie's horse and passes out somewhere in the vast surrounding prairie. Blake is discovered by a Indian (Gary Farmer), who helps him back to a healthier state. Meanwhile, John Dickinson hires three outlaws (Lance Henriksen, Michael Wincott and Eugene Byrd) to track down his son's killer.
The movie takes on an unusual approach as he learns many things from the Indian he travels with, showing him how to face the dangers of being a "dead man." To know what that means, SEE THE FILM! There is a haunting score by Neil Young, which is excellent and the film is truly a work of cinematic poetry. It also has its gritty moments.
There are many cameos throughout the film including Billy Bob Thorton, Alfred Molina, Iggy Pop, Jared Harris, John Hurt and Crispin Glover.
A great one from Jarmusch, check it out...
6 of 6 member(s) found this review helpful.
What Was The Reviewer Smoking?
Big Dog | Cleveland, Ohio USA | 09/02/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"How unfair is it that Tim Keogh of the Amazon.Com organization gets to lead off the list of reviews for this movie by stating - "This disappointment from Jim Jarmusch stars Johnny Depp in a mystery Western about a 19th-century accountant named William Blake, who spends his last coin getting to a hellish mud town in Texas and ends up penniless and doom struck in the wilderness." I don't know if Tim was busy stuffing his face with popcorn but he makes three erroneous statements in this first line of his totally off-base review. 1) This movie is not a mystery! 2) Johnny Depp spends his last coin buying whiskey. 3) The "hellish mud town" of Machine is on the West Coast - not Texas. (After all, it would take a while to ride by horseback from Texas to British Columbia where the Coastal Indian Tribes were located). You may be asking yourself why I take issue with such mundane details? The answer is obvious - to prove the point that Tim Keogh wasn't even watching this movie, and therefore, has no right to review it. Simply put, Dead Man is a cinematic masterpiece! Jim Jarmusch has made a number of strong movies, but Dead Man surpasses the others as a brilliant work of art. You can see by reading the other reviews that support for Dead Man borders on fanatical. There are few movies that I have watched repeatedly but I continue to see this one over and over again. Everything about the film is different from the conventions of Hollywood mass consumption "fast-film". The story unfolds in a slow and methodical manner and requires much attention on the part of the viewer. If you invest in it, Dead Man will repay you many times over. If you liked Forrest Gump and The Sixth Sense then you can go see another mindless mainstream movie with Tim Keogh and the majority of the ignorant American public. If you need more than that . . . buy Dead Man. I'll bet you watch it more than once!"
Poetry for people who hate poetry
Ann Stewart | Elk Grove, CA United States | 07/08/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I'm not allowed to refer to another person's review here, but at the time of this writing, Amazon.com was posting a review of this movie that was clearly written by a person who was raised in Disneyland. This is one of the best movies ever made. Chicago Reader calls it an Acid Western and rates it "masterpiece". It compromises to no filmmaking convention. It's hardly possible to review it without giving away important aspects of the film the viewer should experience for her/himself. The movie is not a story, even though it's told through a story. The evolution of William Blake from innocent Cleveland accountant to a symbol (for English-educated Native American reject Nobody, played by Gary Farmer) for poetry itself; the tiny little worlds of late-19th-century white Western of-necessity survivalists, and the effects these little worlds had on Blake; the hilarious campfire scene with Iggy Pop and Billy Bob Thornton (and a third person -- can't find out who), and the dying beauty of the natives; the brutal innocence of the disenfranchised Nobody whose illusions (or were they?) propelled Blake to his -- future ... I was completely immersed. There is only one thing wrong with this movie. I love Neil Young, but, unless I'm missing some important symbolism, his score could have been more, well, varied. There are not many movies I want to own but this is one."
Almost missed this one
Bill Jones | Lemon Grove, CA USA | 07/09/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I did not see Jim Jarmusch's "Dead Man" when it first played in theaters, in large part because of the many negative reviews it received. Roger Ebert (who I admire) all but dismissed the film with his lowly *1/2-star rating. Ebert was a champion of Jarmusch's "Stranger Than Paradise", so I trusted him and avoided the movie. But now, having seen "Dead Man" on video, I feel many of these critics (who may have been expecting a traditional Western) were unfair in their judgements. This is a movie serious filmgoers should not miss.Johnny Depp stars as William Blake, an accountant from Cleveland who travels west with the promise of a job. This westward journey - the basis for so many other movies - is not, however, seen as something positive (Blake, in fact, is warned early on that the Western town of Machine will only offer him a grave). Things do not start off well. He arrives to find out that the accountant position has already been filled. He tells the office manager (John Hurt) that he wants to speak with the owner. The owner (played by the late Robert Mitchum) is, unfortunately, no more sympathetic and forces Blake to leave.Without enough money to return, Blake befriends a young woman who (like him) has had her romantic notions of the West crushed. She makes paper flowers, because a real flower would never be found in the ugliness of Machine. She shares her bed with him and is shot by her lover (Gabriel Byrne). Blake is also shot, but kills Byrne and escapes on his horse. He is soon found by an Indian named Nobody (Gary Farmer) who tells him that the bullet is close to his heart, so he is already a "dead man". The two take off together and Mitchum (Byrne was his son) places a bounty on Blake's head. "Dead Man" is an anti-Western, in the same tradition as Robert Altman's "McCabe & Mrs. Miller". But the film, which is shot in beautiful black and white by Robby Muller, is unlike any Western I've ever seen. There's a poetic quality to the film. Blake is told that he shares the name of a great British poet not by any of the white people in the film, but rather by the Indian Nobody (who believes he IS the poet). The movie is very much pro-Native American and I admired the film for pointing out some unpleasant facts: like the fact that a million buffalo were slaughtered as a means of wiping out Indians (buffalo was one of their staples). Blake witnesses such a slaughter even before he's left the train. And while I suppose this message could be found in "Dances With Wolves", I found "Dead Man" to be the better film."
A great film with a fine soundtrack
John Peter O'connor | 10/15/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Every time you watch this film, it reveals some more of its character. Is this a western, a road movie, a black comedy, surreal art or just something to look at while you listen to Neil Young's eerie sound track? To find your own answers you must watch it yourself.Set in the late nineteenth century, we see Johnny Depp playing William Blake, a young accountant who gives up his sheltered life in Cleveland to head out to the Wild West. He has a job offer from a manufacturing company owned by John Dickinson (Robert Mitchum) in a lawless town called Machine which is literally, "the end of the line."The film starts with his train journey out to the west and we see him becoming gradually more uneasy as the civilised East turns into the rough and dirty West. All too soon he is in Machine where he finds out that the job has gone to another man bacause Blake took too long in getting there. Out of money, he ends up in bed with Thel Russell (Mili Avital) the prettiest girl in town. When her boyfriend arrives, Blake's troubles get worse. After the ensuing gunfight, Blake flees, mortally wounded and leaving two bodies behind him.The father of the dead boyfriend, Dickinson again, hires a group of killers to catch Blake. Also, he calls in the Marshals and posts public rewards. Since this is a road movie, Blake needs a buddy and he teams up with Nobody (Gary Farmer) an outcast Native American who just happens to have a passion for the poems of the more famous William Blake. Nobody accepts Blake as the embodiment of the real poet and assumes, because the the poet had already died and the man he sees now is slowly dying, that Blake must seek a place to die and return to the world beyond.Nobody sets out to help and guide him on his journey. They must dodge the bounty hunters, marshals and citizens who want the reward and along the way, Blake turns into a man who can kill without remorse. Surreal barely describes the people that they meet and, generally, kill on the way. There is a lot of humour ranging from Nobody's observations of European "civilisation" to the constant sniping (figurative and literal) between the three bounty hunters sent to kill Blake.Shooting the film in black and white and using a soundtrack that is just a constant guitar presence rather than a set of songs, gives the film a outward appearance that well matches the content.Many people will doubtless find this film deeply unappealing or offensive but they will be missing a movie that is as refreshing and stylish as anything else from the nineties."
One of my personal favorite movies of all time...
Noah Andrade | Venice, Ca United States | 01/09/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"... but it's obviously not for everybody. I, for one, found the acting, cinematography, setting, soundtrack and story to fit perfectly. This film just falls into place. It's most definately a sum of its parts. My favorite thing about this movie, is that it's filmed in black and white. I read one review where they wrote "filmed in black and white for no reason". Wrong:1) As cliche' as it sounds, it adds to the films ambiance.2) It's a film that takes place in the early 19th century. It captures the vintage setting. Schindler's List was filmed in black and white for this same reason.3) It's haunting. The whole film is surreal, and the black and white helps set the mood for isolation. But, whatever. It boils down to this: Ignore all the reviews here. Even the good ones. Rent this movie, at least, then see if you like it or not. I can promise that the good majority of you will love it."