With 'Blackthorn' in theaters, an excuse to assess the genre
6. "Dead Man" (Jim Jarmusch, 1995)
Jim Jarmusch's "acid western" is the most unique installment the genre is likely to ever produce. "Dead Man" is a tale of just that, the walking dead, Johnny Depp's William Blake wandering along a destroyed, terrifying, tarnished wilderness steeped in symbolism. Indeed, like many of Jarmusch's efforts, the film invites interpretation, and it's as simultaneously vague and specific enough for that to not be a cop out. Is Blake dead from frame one? Take it and run with it. You certainly can. Is it a thoughtful tome to the poet Blake's mythology? Is it a death scene dragged out over two hours? The answer, of course, is yes…and no.