Jim Jarmusch, Dead Man (1995)
“Expect poison from standing water”
William Blake (1757-1827)
Dead Man is a classic in the genre of Jim Jarmusch movies. This metaphoric biography of the English poet, painter, artist William Blake, one of the true great poets of the English language, has come so close to the Platonic ideal of Blake the man and his life, that it is an eerie description of an interpretation. The guide of Blake is the native American Nobody, who leads Blake from the greenhorn accountant to the feared outlaw, from the neurotic ratio to the intuitive heart. Blake is shot close to the heart right at the beginning of the movie and throughout his fugitive travels through the wilderness of desert and dark forests his bleeding does not stop.
On the surface Dead Man is a parody on the American western, a poetic anti-Western, with comic scenes like cult-hero Iggy Pop in the role of Sally, the transvestite trapper, who cooks beans for Big George (Billy Bob Thornton) and Tench (Jared Harris). But beyond the surface lies an artistic depth that few American movies are able to achieve. It is one of those rare movies, which allows you to discover symbolism with no end, leaving you to think and connect the scenes, words with their methporic meaning for hours or days after having seen it.