THE DEAD DON’T DIE
(director/writer: Jim Jarmusch; cinematographer: Frederick Elmes; editor: Alfonso Goncalves; music: Squrl; cast: Bill Murray (Cliff Robertson), Adam Driver (Ronnie Peterson), Tilda Swinto (Zelda Winston), Chloe Sevigny (Mindy Morrison), Steve Buscemi (Farmer Miller), Danny Glover (Hank Thompson), Caleb Landry Jones (Bobby Wiggins), Selena Gomez (Zoe), Austin Butler (Jack), Rosie Perez ( Posie Juarez), Eszter Balint (Fern), Iggy Pop (Coffee Zombie), Luka Sabbat (Zach), Sara Driver (Coffee Driver), RZA (Dean), Carol Kane (Mallory O’Brien), Rosal Colon (Lily), Maya Delmont (Stella), Tallyah Whitaker (Olivia), Alyssa Maria App (Kid Zombie), Tom Waits (Hermit Bob); Runtime: 103; MPAA Rating: R; producers: Joshua Astrachan, Carter Logan; Focus Features; 2019)
“An underwhelming zombie droll political parable comedy that never completely comes to life despite a star-studded cast and being hipster smart.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Writer-director Jim Jarmusch (“Paterson”/”Broken Flowers”) goes zombie on us in this mostly disappointing sluggish film. It’s an underwhelming droll zombie political parable comedy that never completely comes to life despite a star-studded cast and being hipster smart. What’s lacking is the comedy and inspiration to tell us what’s not obvious.
Centerville is a fictional quiet small town in the east, where things suddenly feel strange. When it becomes apparent that the dead are rising from their graves because of a shift in the Earth’s axis that changes the planet’s daylight hours, we’re soon into a zombie riot as the town fights for survival.The town’s 3 police officers: the deadpan Cliff Robertson (Bill Murray), the soft-spoken cynical Ronnie Peterson (Adam Driver) and the splendidly terrified and coiffed Mindy Morrison (Chloe Sevigny) take charge of the situation.
Meanwhile, the zombies go cannibalistic and threaten the lives of the town and in particular the following: a misfit nature hermit (Tom Waits), an elderly hardware store owner (Danny Glover), a racist farmer (Steve Buscemi), a visiting culture-minded hipster (Selena Gomez), the owner of a diner (Eszter Balint), a movie fan boy and gas-station attendant (Caleb Landry Jones), and a Glasgow accented eccentric undertaker and martial-arts wizard (Tilda Swinton).
The raging zombies in the apocalyptic climax could be stand-ins for the compromised consumers in a divided America, those experiencing moral conflicts, bouts of anger and who are in dismay at the upheaval in the country’s institutions to protect democracy but are unaware of how to save themselves and the world.
The themes are good, but the film is flat.
Sturgill Simpson’s title song opens and closes the film.
REVIEWED ON 6/21/2019