‘I fought the law and the law won’…well kind of. Not the record DJ Zack (Tom Waits) would play on his WYUK gig but hey, he wont be playing much as he is stuck in a prison cell with two other men. He was out of the loop after splitting from his girl and pulled over in a car with a dead body in the boot. Next to him is pimp Jack (John Lurie) who is unpleasant but also stitched up with a young girl in a hotel room. Topping off the three is Bob (Roberto Benigni, in his first international role). He killed someone or maybe his notepad English failed him or maybe, hell, he is just there to top it all off. He also has the escape plan to get out of the prison and get to freedom. Well a swamp might stand in their way.

That is the most basic synopsis of DOWN BY LAW, Jim Jarmusch road movie, come jail break comedy, that I can make. He calls it a neo beat picture. Like I guess if Kerouac and Dean Cassidy had buddied up with a hair brained Italian and not been so desperate to simply go nowhere and get some where (yes I know that was the whole point…) I should add that it is all scored to the soundtrack of star Tom Waits, whose smoke filled lungs, blues infused sounds, add a magic to the whole. Its all good indeed. Maybe not Jarmusch greatest film by a yard or two but it cry’s out for your attention. Criterion collection have released this after Soda films sent it out into the world and lets see what they have done.

Well not much to the actual film. Soda released the 1080p restoration and this is just, well that. The interviews with Muller and Jarmusch are old ones from the former release. So is the whole package of outtakes, Cannes footage and the music videos. The only reason to buy is the fact it is a Criterion release and it will be Region B.

Director-Approved Special Edition Features

  • Interviews with Robby Müller and Jim Jarmusch
  • Alternate audio soundtracks
  • Cannes Film Festival press footage
  • Music video for Tom Waits’s cover of “It’s All Right With Me”
  • Outtakes and production stills

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