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Reviewer: Director Jim Jarmusch Sets Deadlock on The Dead Do not Die

<img src = "https://cdn.arstechnica.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/deadTOP-800×522.jpg" alt = "Bill Murray, Chloë Sévigny and Adam Driver interpret director Jim Jarmusch's break-in on the zombie genre, The dead do not die. "/>

Enlarge / Bill Murray, Chloë Sevigny and Adam Driver play director Jim Jarmusch in the zombie genre The dead do not die.

With The dead do not die, author Director Jim Jarmusch puts his unique and dead-footprint on this staple of the horror genre. As might be expected, Jarmusch's vision is more ironically cerebral than your typical zombie fare and a little less horribly visceral, even when the aforementioned deaths are dulling the viscera of their victims . This is not a perfect film, but Tilda Swinton brandishes a katana with deadly accuracy against the undead. What's not to like?

(Some spoilers below.)

Zombies may seem like a strange topic choice for this longtime darling of the Cannes Film Festival crowd. Jarmusch's career started in 1984 with his first big film, Stranger Than Paradise. Shot entirely in black and white (a signature of the director's early works), the film won the Golden Camera in Cannes that year and established the director as a rising creative force in arthouse cinema.

Movies like Dead man, Mystery Train, Lightweight, Night on Earth, and Ghost Dog: The Samurai Way still cemented his author status. In 2005, Jarmusch won the Grand Prix in Cannes for Broken flowers, which featured Bill Murray as a middle-aged man looking for the mother of the son he never met. And Jarmusch is no stranger to the unusual stories of traditional horror stories, as evidenced by his 2013 "crypto-vampire love story". Only lovers will stay alive.

The trailer was released in April, giving hope that the genre would be adapted to Jarmusch's idiosyncratic style and ultra-dry spirit, especially given the resurgence of comic horror on the theme of zombies during from the last 15 years, starting in 2004. Shaun of the Dead. The director's vision goes back to George Romero's classic zombies (Romero originally called them "ghouls"): they are slow, brewed, barely sentient creatures that do not discriminate particularly in their diet. that sense that they eat any part of the food. human body, not just the brain. And they wash themselves easily by destroying their heads – at least until their numbers increase so much that they simply exceed their numbers and dominate all the humans in their path.

In this case, humans are the inhabitants of a small rural town called Centerville. They begin to notice strange phenomena, probably due to the fracturing of the polar ice caps, which make the Earth fall from its axis. In one way or another (Jarmusch wisely did not seek to find a better explanation), it serves to resuscitate the dead, with dire predictable consequences for the inhabitants of Centerville. It's up to Chief Cliff Robertson (Bill Murray) and Officer Ronald "Ronnie" Peterson (Adam Driver) to protect the city from the growing horde of zombies, a task for which they are unfortunately unprepared, despite the knowledge Ronnie's zombie practices.

Among the stars of the film, many of whom, like Murray, have worked with Jarmusch on earlier projects, include Chloë Sevigny as Minerva officer "Mindy" Morrison; Steve Buscemi as Farmer Miller, wearing a Make America White Again hat; Tom Waits in the role of Hermit Bob, who serves as a social conscience to the film; and Danny Glover and Caleb Landry Jones as Hank Thompson and Bobby Wiggins, who own a hardware store and a gas station / convenience store, respectively.

Tilda Swinton shines particularly as a Scottish morgue attendant, Zelda Winston, who does not have a very good makeup; his bodies end up looking like fugitives from a 1980s music video of the Culture Club. But she has a passion for the Japanese swordplay – "I'm pretty confident in my ability to defend myself against the undead" – and a secret that she has been hiding from the city.

Rosie Perez, Selena Gomez, Sara Driver and RZA join them in supporting roles. Fans of Hardcore Jarmusch will love the appearance of Eszter Balint as an unhappy restaurant waitress, Fern. The New Hungarian Balint co-starred in Eva Stranger Than Paradise (Pronouncing the classic line, "It's Screamin's" Jay Hawkins, and he's a wild man, so turn off the bug "). Iggy Pop and Carol Kane make cameos like zombies in search of coffee and a glass of chardonnay with a side of delicious bowels, respectively. These zombies are not obsessed by the brain or the devouring man – although they eat it – but by the things that interest him the most in life. The undead walk around the city, moaning for "sweets" or trying to play tennis or football. Many are walking with smartphones, moaning "Wi-Fi" and "Bluetooth". My personal favorite was a young female zombie who took a model pose and moaned "Fashion".

All the performances are fantastic. we would expect no less from this a lotTalent casting. Jarmusch pays tribute to all the most famous zombie tropes and offers truly fun and truly horrific moments. Whether you like it or not The dead do not die This could be the result of what you think of Jarmusch's classic impasse, his sinuous narrative style. It works for you in this context or does not work. It worked mostly for me.

Whether you like the film or not, it may be because you think about Jarmusch's impasse and his sinister storytelling style.

If I have a criticism, it is that The dead is a bit too smart for his own good sometimes. Jarmusch does not really break the fourth wall, but Driver and Murray sometimes break a character to openly acknowledge that they are in a movie. For example, the song of the country singer / songwriter Sturgill Simpson "The Dead Don & # 39; t Die" plays during the opening credits and reappears on the radio when we meet for the first time Cliff and Ronnie. Cliff thinks he's doing the experiment already seen, but Ronnie explains that this is just the theme song of the movie. (You'll hear it often and Sturgill has a brief appearance as a zombie obsessed with an old guitar.) The pilot breaks the character at the end of the film to admit that he's read the full text; Murray complains that he has received only his own scenes. Neither were prepared for the supposedly unwritten revelation of Zelda Winston's secret.

These brief breaks could be attributed to Jarmusch author sensibilities and shrugged his shoulders, but his heavy moralisation in the end is not so easily dismissed. He clearly sees zombies as a metaphor for crass and rampant materialism. That's why his zombies pursue the material things that matter most to them in life rather than just consume flesh. (They usually attack if a living human catches their attention in one way or another.) If Jarmusch had stopped at that, the movie would have been good. But in the last moments, he has to make his point of view by making the hermit Bob his moral spokesman and offering a dreadful monologue on the tragedy of our insatiable and insatiable thirst for all things, at the expense of that who really matters. . Jarmusch mitigates the impact of his own message by making it so explicit.

From the beginning, Ronnie repeated to us several times: "It's not going to end well." It's certainly a morbid ending that haunts a so-called zombie comedy. But Jarmusch's choice of becoming dark in the end eventually works. Shaun of the Dead Creator Simon Pegg called the zombies "the most powerful metaphoric monsters", considering them as a slow and steady approach to death: "weak, clumsy, often absurd, the zombie locks up relentlessly, impossible to stop , insoluble ". Jarmusch seems to share this sensitivity. And the lyrics of the theme song reinforce it, reminding the viewer: "After life / Life after death continues"We are still waiting for our coffee and our chardonnay.

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