Sunday, July 26, 2015

Dead Man (1995)

Today's film is Dead Man.  At first, it seems like a normal Western.  But really, it's an art film and it becomes more obvious as the film goes on.

It stars Johnny Depp as William Blake, who is traveling by train to the Wild West to get a job.  But when he gets there, there's no job!  No one in the town welcomes him, and through bad luck, manages to get shot.  He meets a Native American named Nobody who helps him, but lets him know that the bullet is in a position to kill him.

So, Nobody is played by Gary Farmer, who actually is First Nation.  And, this film is entirely in black and white.  But, I'm still not going to tell my husband the truth because it's still funny.  The black and white is actually an important aspect to the film, because they really play with shadows a lot.  I think of old German Expressionism, like The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari while I'm watching this.  The pictures in Dead Man were inspired by Ansel Adams, a photographer who did all the pretty landscape shots a long time ago.

There are some elements of a normal Western, like a posse, and gunfights, but soon we get into weird territory.  A lot of the movie is weird.  But we know this is about Blake's journey into the next life. Nobody mistakes Blake for the similarly named poet and this affects how he treats him.  What if he knew he wasn't the same person? I wonder about that.

This was unlike any Western I have ever seen. I will give it a 7/10.

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