This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Courtney Culbertson’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
I am so grateful that we live in a world where there were enough people willing to put their resources behind this movie--a movie as destined to be misunderstood and underappreciated as this one--that it actually got made.
Jim Jarmusch is clearly a self-aware guy. He knew the expectations people would bring into a modern zombie flick--a scrappy band of survivors, fast-paced action played for thrills, and a heavy dose of social commentary. If you've ever seen a Jarmsuch movie, you have to know coming into this that he would never play it that straight. But in The Dead Don't Die, he doesn't just cheekily skewer genre tropes--instead, he skewers audience's expectations of those tropes to criticize how people engage with film, and then uses that criticism as springboard for examining how the roles perpetuated in media impact the way people engage with the world at large.
It's stupid hard to write about this movie, because it's entire point is to criticize film criticism and fight against the idea you should get something from a movie that you can put nicely into words. Eventually I hope I can do a write-up that more cleanly explains my take on it. But for now I'll just say this: watching this movie like you're Hermit Bob is a trap that Jarmusch has laid for viewers to demonstrate just how boring it is to watch a movie with the expectation of authoritative, objective meaning. Don't fall into it--this movie has so much more to offer.