Today, it is hard for some to remember Johnny Depp as an actor and at the height of his craft. The on going court case and its varied too and froing has lead many to forget him as anything other than a lush or drug addict. This is a real shame.

Jim Jarmusch DEAD MAN, finds Depp’s accountant William Blake, trapped in the nineteenth-century American West. This is not the land of sun bleached rocks and pistol pulling outlaws. More it is the location where America’s fortunes are found in broad industrialization and as the town called Machine can atest, it is destroying the health of the land and its people. Caught in the middle of a fatal lovers’ quarrel,  wounded and now running for his life, Blake falls under the watch of the outcast Native American called Nobody (Gary Farmer). With America again caught in the debate of gun violence and racism, DEAD MAN’s soul, for want of a better word, is one of exisitential exploration. Depp’s Blake is a wandering spirit, caught up in the hell of the place and the healing of his ego. Nobody is a guide, akin to Virgil. Travelling the underworld in search of the answer, long forgotton and longer lost care for.

Criterion have cleverly picked the most pertinent of Jarmusch’s films (with more to follow) , they have given us a superb slection to pair it with. The 4K restoration has wonderfully complemented the  black-and-white dream, with exceptional photography by Robby Müller. It has also added to this. The extras later but the substantial improvement on the score of the live-wire score by Neil Young is superb. Mastered as it is in 2.0 surround. If you bought the original 1080p release, some 24 months back, from Soda, you will know it had no extras of note (The deleted scenes were there). The best extras here are the commentary on the film by production designer Bob Ziembicki and sound mixer Drew Kunin. Both do occasionally get lost in the scenes that they cover but its informative. I loved the footage of Neil Young composing and performing the film’s score. Its short but it is rich in how you make a film score and how you can riff on that. The very best is Jarmusch responds to questions sent in by fans. He is asked a bunch of things. Most on the films creation and his ‘way’ of working. He gives direct answers and this is refreshing. So in conclusion, you will benefit from this upscale and no mistake.


  • New 4K digital restoration, supervised and approved by director Jim Jarmusch, with 2.0 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack
  • New Q&A in which Jarmusch responds to questions sent in by fans
  • Rarely seen footage of Neil Young composing and performing the film’s score
  • New interview with actor Gary Farmer
  • New readings of William Blake poems by members of the cast, including Mili Avital, Alfred Molina, and Iggy Pop
  • New selected-scene audio commentary by production designer Bob Ziembicki and sound mixer Drew Kunin
  • Deleted scenes
  • Jarmusch’s location scouting photos
  • English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
  • PLUS: Essays by film critic Amy Taubin and music journalist Ben Ratliff

    New cover by Nessim Higson

About The Author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.