I like Jim Jarmusch and I like zombies; so why didn’t I like this film?
A Brief Cinematic Existential Crisis
It’s weird because I really enjoy Jarmusch’s other dabblings into genre fare: Deadman (Western), Ghost Dog (samurai flick) and Only Lovers Left Alive (vampire film) all in different ways but this movie felt, well, dead on arrival.
It’s like the parts never ended up fitting together. In the other genre works, it feels like a fusion of his sensibilities coming together with the genre at hand. In this case, nothing really fits. There’s social commentary that’s more lightweight than anything that came before it since the height of Romero’s career (some zombies grumble about wanting wifi- hilarious?!).
But seriously, how do I feel about this movie?
The humor here often feels flat and weirdly just trying to be clever for clever’s sake. Rosie Perez plays a tv reporter named “Posie Juarez” get it? Because it’s a similar name? Or like, this like a mirror held up to our society or something? It feels like the freshman film student’s idea of clever and I guess I expected more from Jim. He does a similar name gag for Tilda Swinton’s character “Zelda Winston” Winston is an anagram from Swinton you see! Seriously , has Jim Jarmusch been captured and replaced by a 3rd-rate Batman villain?
But don’t worry, we have some real 4th wall meta stuff going on here that adds comedy? I like the Sturgess Simpson song used for this movie, I don’t mind hearing it multiple times in the film, what I don’t need is every character somehow being aware of this cultural artifact or needing to take up a minute of the film’s running time to discuss it a dozen times or so throughout the film. Honestly though, this article is just an excuse for me to rant about how disappointed I was in this film. I wanted to like it, it has a great cast, and parts of it look cool, but ultimately it was a one-joke film that felt hollow from the first few minutes.
Feel free to disagree below! Also for people who saw this and Lovers Left Alive, why do you think one succeeds more than the other? For me, the main vampires actually felt like real characters and not whatever the hell Bill Murray and Adam Driver were suppose to be playing in Dead Don’t Die.
Oh and here’s the damn song, one of the film’s few redeeming qualities: