Tag Archives: Jim Jarmusch

Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai honors its director

9 Jun

ghost-dog

Writer/director Jim Jarmusch puts together his most mainstream film to date when he explores the idea of a man living by a code.  Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai is a film about an African-American hit man named Ghost Dog (Forest Whitaker) contracted by the mafia to assassinate special targets that cannot be traced back to the mobsters. He lives by a code modeled after Hagakure: The Way of the Samurai, a strict lifestyle that promoted an honorable, but humble life dedicated to carrying out his chosen master’s orders. Jarmusch inserts passages from the book throughout the movie that helps frame the story and its ideas. Whitaker embodies this role and convinces audiences of this character’s unusual choices. He makes it difficult to see anyone else playing this part, which demonstrates the singular commitment of the code. Whitaker is a modern day samurai/actor that really serves his director with great honor.

WORD COUNT: 152

Chuck’s Grade: B+

Adam’s Grade: N/A

Down by Law is a rare film that belongs in everyone’s collection

30 Dec

Down-by-Law

There is something special about Jim Jarmusch’s Down by Law that is difficult to put your finger on, but for some reason this black and white film about three strangers ending up in the same New Orleans jail cell is mesmerizing.  Zack (Tom Waits) is an unemployed deejay that ends up driving the wrong car across town one night, Jack (John Lurie) is a low-level pimp that doesn’t have the stomach for violence, and Roberto (Roberto Benigni) is the most unlikely murderer in the French Quarter. The three of them could not be more different and Jarmusch’s story does allow audiences to take a familiar path because there is this awkward tension throughout the film that remains until the very end. Robby Muller’s cinematography is amazing and his ability to capture the confinement of New Orleans during the 1980s is a testament to his craft and vision. Down by Law is a rare independent film that belongs in everyone’s collection.

WORD COUNT: 159

Chuck’s Grade: A

Adam’s Grade: N/A