Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Dead Don't Die (2019)

Jim Jarmusch’s The Dead Don’t Die is a messy horror comedy that is one half masterpiece and one half an absolute mess. I hate that it didn’t remotely stick the landing but ended up in hay stack three states over but I’m still stupidly happy that the film simply exists.

The plot of the film has polar fracing causing the earth to wobble, animals to go crazy and the dead to rise up and eat the living (and some to drink coffee-hey it’s a Jarmusch film)

I’m not going to even attempt to explain what happens but it involves a lot of actors being deadpan, wicked social commentary, WTF turns and frequent destruction of the fourth fifth and sixth walls. Things happen because, and we are frequently better for it.

The truth be told, the first hour of this wicked horror comedy is a masterpiece. Jarmusch has fashioned a creepy horror film that sets a stunning mood, manages to be laugh out loud funny with jokes at real situations, comments on the state of the world all the while sending up horror films of old. For most of its running time Jarmusch and his tale of the three members of the police force of Centerville during the apocalypse delights as it nails it all in ways that George Romero would be proud. ..

…and then the film begins to spin wildly out of control. Things just happen. Plot threads go nowhere. The seventh, eighth and ninth walls crumble for no good reason and you realize that maybe Jarmusch never had anything remotely approaching an ending. I was left wondering why Selena Gomez and the crew from Cleveland were in the film. I also pondered the kids in detention who just disappear. Yes I know this is a Jarmusch film and his films can be rambling, but he usually has a grasp on the narrative. This time out he it seems like he was still working on things as they went into production. Don’t get me wrong the film still entertains and remains enjoyable, but as the narrative breaks apart in what can only be described as lazy plotting the film greatness dissipates. I walked out of the film liking it instead of loving it.

As it stands now The Dead Don’t Die is an amusing send up/riffon the zombie genre. Worth a look- with the understanding that is is Jim Jarmusch operating at full tilt

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