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 Post subject: What does Dead Man mean to you?
PostPosted: Thu Jul 09, 2009 7:57 am 
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I love this film definitely in my top 3 Depp films. I find this film really hypnotic the music the pacing and the way its shot all just pull you in. The meaning of this film to me is all about Johnnys character going on a spiritual journey. Wheather that is the intended meaning or not I dont know but thats what it means to me.. :cool:



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 Post subject: Re: What does Dead Man mean to you?
PostPosted: Thu Jul 09, 2009 10:41 am 
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I have always thought it was about a man who is dead...from the beginning of the dream he is dead and on a journey to the next life??



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 Post subject: Re: What does Dead Man mean to you?
PostPosted: Thu Jul 09, 2009 11:31 am 
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I never was able to untangle this movie. I thought he was dead and his guide was dead until the end where the bounty hunter kills both of them.



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 Post subject: Re: What does Dead Man mean to you?
PostPosted: Thu Jul 09, 2009 11:47 am 
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I always thought that after he gets shot and the rest of the time he spends with the Indian he is dying not dead. Up untill the end when he gets pushed off in the boat and that is when he dies.



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 Post subject: Re: What does Dead Man mean to you?
PostPosted: Thu Jul 09, 2009 12:27 pm 
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Location: Just outside of Barstow, where the drugs are beginning to take hold...
Given the references to William Blake throughout, I think it was about a spiritual journey that became a literal one -- "Bill Blake," JD's character, is shot, but can't get medical help in town because he's wanted for killing the shooter, who's the son of the powerful factory owner (Robt Mitchum). So he escapes to the countryside, where Nobody helps him and thinks he's William Blake. They both know that he'll die from the wound without treatment, so when the time is near, Nobody sends him on a boat to the next world.

Blake wrote a famous line that seems to have influenced Johnny, given his Infinitum Nihil, skull rings and interest in the Doors:

'If the doors of perception were cleansed, every thing would appear to man as it is, infinite.
For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things thro’ narrow chinks of his cavern.'
—From The Marriage of Heaven and Hell

Just IMHO. Jim Jarmusch is a heavy thinker.



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 Post subject: Re: What does Dead Man mean to you?
PostPosted: Thu Jul 09, 2009 12:42 pm 
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Jonathan Rosenbaum wrote a pretty good exploration of the symbolism and subtext of this film:


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 Post subject: Re: What does Dead Man mean to you?
PostPosted: Thu Jul 09, 2009 6:40 pm 
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Location: Manchester England
Dead Man was a story of a young man who thought he was on the journey to start a new life and career and found that it was the start of the end of his life. His journey after being shot was for him to find his final resting place and it became spiritual from one phase to the other. I enjoyed it very much. :chill:



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 Post subject: Re: What does Dead Man mean to you?
PostPosted: Thu Jul 09, 2009 7:07 pm 

Joined: Sun Jul 11, 2004 11:28 am
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Location: Phoenix
Possibly one of the best Depp films ever -- a swan song for the great Robert Mitchum and the first time I ever saw Gary Farmer (he played "Nobody") who I think is the coolest native-American dude ever! The word "nobody" has never retained it's meaning for me since seeing this unbelievable Jim Jarmusch epic. The systematic sucking of innocence from a young man is incredible to watch.
The supporting cast was a whos-who of character actors including John Hurt, Iggy Pop, Crispin Glover and the always wonderful Gabriel Byrne.

I still laugh at all the smoking lines histerically. You have to see the film and know Johnny's history with tobacco to understand them, but they had me rolling on the floor.

This is one of Johnny's least known films but, in my book, one of the best performances of his career. I would even venture a wager this is one of the few of his films he has actually seen.

Strange and symbolic and worth seeing multiple times.


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 Post subject: Re: What does Dead Man mean to you?
PostPosted: Thu Jul 09, 2009 7:26 pm 

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Location: Following that Horizon
I absolutely agree with you, docplacer. As much as I love Captain Jack (and I do love him...he's my 27 on a scale of 1 to 10), I love Dead Man even more. :love: I think Jim Jarmusch is a genuis, and an amazingly good friend to Johnny through a hard time emotionally.

I see it as a story of a spiritual journey. The script, story movement, props, music, characters etc are so full of meaning that it almost hurts my head to watch more than 15 minutes of it at a time. I constantly stop my DVD to rewatch scenes, keeping my eyes on details. Nobody knows right away what's up with Mr Blake, although poor William is totally out of the loop. The closer he gets to his physical demise, the more he gains spiritual insight. The veil is slowly lifted, as he sees and experiences things at a level that he has never visited before. When the final scenes arrive, and he drifts past the veil and over to the other side, his eyes are opened...even as they close. I love how Jarmusch incorporated all the different ferryman, journey to the otherworld by boat/canoe etc symbolism into this last scene.

Did I say I love the music too?? :applause2:


Last edited by Jennak on Thu Jul 09, 2009 8:38 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: What does Dead Man mean to you?
PostPosted: Thu Jul 09, 2009 8:08 pm 
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Location: Just outside of Barstow, where the drugs are beginning to take hold...
Jennak wrote:
The script, story movement, props, music, characters etc are so full of meaning that it almost hurts my head to watch more than 15 minutes of it at a time. I constantly stop my DVD to rewatch scenes, keeping my eyes on details. :


I know what you mean, Jennak. When the VHS came out, it took my husband and me four hours to watch it! Then I watched it almost immediately again with a friend, a filmmaker.

The way it switches from wrenching to wry makes you watch for every detail. I love the campfire scene where Billy Bob Thornton strokes Johnny's hair and asks, "How do you keep your hair so nice and soft? I can't do a thing with mine." I imagine that was adlibbed.



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 Post subject: Re: What does Dead Man mean to you?
PostPosted: Tue Aug 04, 2009 11:07 am 
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Location: Scotland
drphibes wrote:
I love this film definitely in my top 3 Depp films. I find this film really hypnotic the music the pacing and the way its shot all just pull you in. The meaning of this film to me is all about Johnnys character going on a spiritual journey. Wheather that is the intended meaning or not I dont know but thats what it means to me.. :cool:


That's exactly my thoughts. :-)
I loved the film, with all its weirdness. Johnny was amazing, and just made the film (as he always does. ;-) )
I really enjoyed it.
I should actually watch it again sometime.... :grin:


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 Post subject: Re: What does Dead Man mean to you?
PostPosted: Tue Aug 04, 2009 11:15 am 
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Joined: Sat Mar 21, 2009 3:45 am
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Location: Austin
I saw this for the first time about two weeks ago. Wow. I studied William Blake in college. One of the key things we studied was Blake's idea of life as a journey from Innocence, to Experience, and finally to "organized Innocence". I can very much see this progression through the film. I'll see if I can find a concise example of this.

Loved loved loved this film. I hated to send it back to netflix, need to buy it!


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 Post subject: Re: What does Dead Man mean to you?
PostPosted: Tue Aug 04, 2009 12:30 pm 
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Joined: Tue Oct 02, 2007 2:49 pm
Posts: 350
Location: Los Angeles
I must agree. This movie is amazing. I loved it from my first watch. I love the mix of surrealism, symbolism, deep hidden message and plain old comedy. Nobody is GREAT fun, as are the three hit men. Hilarious. I love movies with deep meaning that's hidden so well you have to piece it together like a puzzle. I too have always seen it as a very spiritual film. Very much the death transition. There are many religeons who believe we have spirit guides. I believe Nobody is this spirit guide for William. There are also some who believe that when we die, you go through a learning process before you pass on to your final destination. I see this as William's journey. Whether you believe he was dead before he got on the train, or that his death resulted from the gun shot, the train he traveled on ended in Machine...end of the line. It was clear, even if he did die from the gunshot, he was brought there to die.
I love too that it was filmed in black and white. I love the eerie modern guitar set to an old west image. It's just an amazing film. I'd really love to hear Johnny speak more about it...his take. I don't know that I've ever seen or heard him speak much of it in any detail. If anyone knows of any interviews he's done about DM...please share.



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 Post subject: Re: What does Dead Man mean to you?
PostPosted: Tue Aug 04, 2009 1:45 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jul 28, 2009 1:45 pm
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I found a short interview with Johnny talking about Dead Man on MTV. Its not much,and there's Neil Young and the director of DM talking aswell..but its something. :-)
Part 1:



If you stay on the video, it'll move onto the next part once the first part finishes. Enjoy! :-)



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 Post subject: Re: What does Dead Man mean to you?
PostPosted: Tue Aug 04, 2009 2:11 pm 
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Joined: Tue Oct 02, 2007 2:49 pm
Posts: 350
Location: Los Angeles
Thanks. I'd never seen those. Great find. :flashingheart:



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