Title: The Dead Don’t Die
Director: Jim Jarmusch
Starring: Bill Murray, Adam Driver, Chloe Sevigny
Runtime: 1 hr 44 mins
What It Is: Strange events come crashing down on the unsuspecting citizens of the town Centerville. Featuring a wide variety of cast and characters lead by a trio of police officers (Murray, Driver, Sevigny) and narrated by a crazy homeless man called Hermit Bob (Tom Waits), this black comedy zombie flick forces its subjects and viewers to expect the unexpected.
What We Think: Just about what you’d expect from a director who is notorious in the world of American independent cinema granted the budgetary grace of a Hollywood flick (also see: Harmony Korine). The big name cast is not wasted in performances that, while allowing the talented actors a chance to stretch their wings outside of their usual typecast, still stay true to Mr. Director’s auteur delivery. The cinematography and camerawork interestingly range from plainly shot-reverse-shot to epic slow-motion-displays of solid action. Keeps things interesting, for sure, in a comfy balance between minimalist influence and earnest appreciation of having the opportunity to have a now-apparently Scottish Tilda Swinton use a samurai sword to delicately slice heads off of the shoulders of zombies… it’s beautiful. Besides the fun of watching the well-utilized cast in a quirky addition to the zombie genre, the story is a bit predictable in its cynicism, as well as can be a little repetitively too tongue-in-cheek for comfort in giving away most of its tricks early on and shrugging about it. Some things are better left unsaid, I’ll say that much of the writing (as far as some of the comedy goes). The first act is also quite slow.
Our Grade: B, Cheeky, quirky, and dry, this black comedy is just that—it’s obviously not for everyone. I enjoyed it consistently all throughout, and wouldn’t mind seeing it again and owning a copy of my own. On a personal note, I’m a little sad that it was released this early/late—it would’ve paired beautifully with a chilly October release as it serves as a sweet dedication to spooky cult cinema. It certainly got me in the mood. The dusty-ass zombies (including a beautiful Iggy Pop zombie schlepping around for a cup of joe) are also pretty freaking entertaining.