The Dead Don’t Die (2019)
Available for home viewing
JIm Jarmusch’s films have often split opinion. My opinion- I have no idea what you think and I don’t want to know. Unless it’s nice, like puppies, Big Macs or blowjobs. Dead Man came with a huge reputation and bored the tits off me (they have sadly grown back), whereas Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai is brilliant. You could argue that he’s keen to try different things, a Michael Winterbottom type, and I’d agree with that. It isn't a bad thing, just don't make me watch Dead Man again.
The Dead Don’t Die comes at around the same time as Zombieland: Double Tap, and for there to be two mainstream zombie comedies out at roughly the same time is pretty rare. It’s no bad thing where I’m concerned as I love a zombie film but The Dead Don’t Die got slated in the press, and I didn’t hear anything much better from people I know who saw it.
Not being one to care about what other people say, particularly when it’s The Guardian and a zombie film is involved, I rented it (For Your Eyes Only, Forest Hill) anyway. I’ve even seen all of George Romero’s Dead series- right up to Survival of the Dead which was shit. Sorry George…
I whacked on the projector, sort of anticipating being either surprised or completely let down, but what unfolded before my faulty eyes was, erm, a little uneven. The Dead Don’t Die has some brilliant moments, and some which can probably only be explained by Jim Jarmusch and the cast. I completely admire the efforts to do new things, and very much understand that doing so often results in some elements of a film which don’t work. To whit, I wasn’t upset by seeing this in The Dead Don’t Die.
Part of what I love about film is seeing new things, and I’m prepared to suffer through some shit (Survival of the Dead) in order to do so.
The Dead Don’t Die takes a while to get going, though is not what I’d call boring in doing so, and once the zombies hit town it is pretty good fun. Fun, although barmy. There are some real laugh out loud moments, one in particular involving Tilda Swinton really tickled me. I’ll leave it for you to see, but all I’ll say is "funeral home". On that, the cast are (all Jarmusch's regulars) on form; Swinton, Chloe Sevigny and Steve Buscemi offer a nice eccentricity to Adam Driver and Bill Murray’s lethargy.
In terms of what I liked, the zombie kills are new, nicely done and enjoyable to watch. What I didn't like was the ham-fisted social commentary and the Star Wars reference involving Driver which was as subtle as wanking in public. The Dead Don’t Die is self aware by design and how much you can tolerate that will colour your enjoyment of it. As I say, some great ideas, some dross.
Worth checking out. 7/10
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