AULDBOY’s review published on Letterboxd:
JAR-LY: FILM FIFTEEN
Last July I watched through all of Jim Jarmusch’s filmography after really loving his film Mystery Train. Before that I had only ever seen Paterson which was a great introduction point to him and his unique style. Jarmusch is a very hit or miss director and unfortunately The Dead Dont Die is more of an attempted hit that ends up being a foul ball.
It has a lot of good things going for it, with it’s incredible cast being a major strongpoint. Jarmusch goes full Tarantino here and brings back a lot of his favourite actors from his previous films to all weirdly coexist. There are some funny moments that are definitely an acquired taste of humour but moments like Adam Driver casually pulling up in a smart car to a murder scene are certainly highlights.
However, The Dead Dont Die suffers from a VERY strong case of self indulgence which has been a detractor in some of his previous works. While it never quite reaches The Limits of Control levels of bad, it almost does at points. Scenes are often stretched to breaking point where it can honestly get quite boring. The overly deadpan style of the acting works for some of this but really becomes a problem with some scenes making things feel all a bit pointless.
A major problem also lies with Jarmusch trying to make commentary on society in such a lazy and uninspired way. Zombies shuffle around moaning for wifi and internet and the hermit narrator says all the usual shit about people being too preoccupied with social media and “game boys” and it all feels really forced and done to IRONIC death. The film wastes a lot of time with characters and story with most of the threads and relationships going nowhere. It tries to act like it’s self aware but it never really feels like it goes all out in presenting that type of approach, just giving Adam Driver some vague lines about reading the script and talking about the films theme song doesn’t really qualify.
At the end of the day, the film needed more of the wasted badass zombie slaying Tilda Swinton, and less of Jarmusch pandering to incel film nerds who actually think Selena Gomez is going to say “your film knowledge is impressive” to some random guy at a gas station just because he says some random references