With 'Blackthorn' in theaters, an excuse to assess the genre
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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.