The Dead Don't Die (2019)
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Saw it today and it's a mixed bag, although that's perhaps too generous. If you're not a Jarmusch fan I wouldn't recommend it as it's a bad intro, and if you are a fan it's a minor work to say the very least. For zombie comedies, stick with One Cut of the Dead.
I do admire the idea of a star-studded zombie anti-comedy. It's insanely deadpan and sardonic even by Jim Jarmusch's recent standards. There are some (i.e. very few) lovely moments of oddball gags (Adam Driver pulling up in his automobile being a highlight) and rare stretches where the film's aggressively relaxed and indifferent tone hits the right chord. A few of the cast - Swinton in particular - are operating on the right wavelength, which means not giving a **** what wavelength everyone else is operating on and just doing their own deadpan thing.
But mostly this gives the impression of being rather underbaked in almost all key respects. There's some very overt social commentary that doesn't amount to anything at all - references to fracking, Trump's America and consumerism abound, but they're references that hang in the air awkwardly rather than amounting to biting satire. Visually it's half-assed, and most of the cast members are wasted in go-nowhere roles (Chloe Sevigny stands out in that regard, given she gets a lot more screentime than most others).
It's a strange shrug of a movie - very much by design, but to the point I struggled to get much out of it. As a goofball larf of a film it's not without some very occasional and specific pleasures... but given Paterson was very much Jarmusch on top form this definitely is a disappointment.
The Dead Don't Die is Jim Jarmusch's star-studded follow-up to Only Lovers Left Alive, trading the vampires' elegance and urban landscapes for a zombie obviousness and a rural setting. But it's still about the undead as a metaphor for societal decay, and in this case, an amusing if slow-paced (amusing BECAUSE it is slow-paced?) comedy set in Trump's America. This thing is insane in more ways than one, but it's biggest sin is being too on-the-nose. When zombies moan about wi-fi and Xanax, I think it's already too clear what Jarmusch is saying without Tom Waits' survivalist explaining it in voice-over. If the basic message is evident and on the order of the grumpy old man shaking his fist at a politically apathetic population, there are other layers of meaning too. It was actually fun to try and discern how each character represented a different reaction to the film's metaphor for climate change. One throws blame at immigrants but never understands the situation. Another believes all the government's lies and eventually joins the throng. Some recognize the narrative and see all the signs, but are impotent to do anything about it except say we're doomed and moving on. And then there's Tilda Swinton's outrageous, absurd foreigner, who can just leave and wipe her hands of the whole thing, as many of us outside the States frequently do (until it happens to us). A pointed message that borders of the lecture may make you think there's no food for thought here, but there's quite a lot happening when you start talking about it. It's the kind of comedy I like, and there are a lot of fun details in the background as well, Plus, it's got a cool theme song.
Pretty lame over all. Some of the jokes were good, other were repetitive and stale relying on references. Actors were mostly all great, i think this movie benefited hugely from its cast but most of the characters are pretty uninteresting, and the ones that are interesting like hermit-bob and the juvenile kids are only briefly on screen not doing too much to further any plot. Most of the characters are basically there for a cheap laugh at best which is unfortunate because this movie really had something charming and interesting going for it in the first half.
to see which of your friends have seen this movie!