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Saturday, July 27, 2019


(Bill Murray & Adam Driver)

The Dead don’t Die, written and directed by Jim Jarmusch will be showing again on Sunday, July 27 at 19h45 at Gateway 13. (Review by Patrick Compton)

Jim Jarmusch’s play on the zombie genre has plenty of his laconic, deadpan humour, but also a surprisingly fair helping of seriousness about the grim state of the world.

Fans of his hipster movies will probably regard this film as a lesser work, something of a throwaway. Nevertheless, any film with his old comrades in it – including Bill Murray, an outstanding Tilda Swinton, Adam Driver, Chloe Sevigny and Steve Buscemi – is worth a watch, and they certainly have a good time meeting up again with their boss.

The film is set in the placid small town of Centerville and Jarmusch is quick to make us aware that polar fracking is the ultimate bad guy here. As a result, the earth has been tilted off its proper axis resulting in unusually long days, bizarre animal behaviour and, most disturbingly, the reanimation of the dead into savage ghouls who feast on human flesh as well as long for their old favourite tastes such as coffee, Chardonnay and wi-fi.

Murray, Sevigny and Driver are the cops trying to police the zombies, Swinton is a Scottish mortician expertly wielding her sword to “kill the head” of the ghouls, which includes a bloody turn from rocker Iggy Pop.

The characters not only play their part in this make-believe world, they are also very aware of their fictional characters in a zombie movie. On one occasion, Murray asks why a country song seems so familiar and Driver replies: “It’s the theme tune.”

Whether any of this hits home with audiences will be partly down to whether you’re a Jarmusch fan who enjoys meta-movies and partly whether you warm to his low-key, occasionally weird sense of humour.

The movie is not simply a goofy take on the zombie genre, more a somewhat despairing vision of the human condition. As the theme tune says: “If you’re gonna die, die with your boots on.” – Patrick Compton