XL Popcorn – Down By Law

List Item: Watch all of the “1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die”
Progress: 875/1009Title: Down By Law
Director: Jim Jarmusch
Year: 1986
Country: USA

And now I close out another director on the list. Before starting this blog, I had never seen a Jim Jarmusch film and now I am on my third. After Stranger Than Paradise I was a bit reluctant to cross of his final film – and when this started I had that reluctance justified as it felt that Down By Law was going in a similar direction. Then Roberto Benigni made his first appearance on screen and things improved from there.

Down By Law is an interesting film because it feels like Jarmusch took the characters from three quite different films and put them together in a jail break movie. You have Tom Wait’s Zack who feels like he would have belonged in Stranger Than Paradise, Jack feels more like a character from a John Cassavetes film and then there is Roberto… who is from some sort of fish out of water comedy where the lead accidentally kills someone in self-defense.

There are two things in this film which are undeniable. First is the chemistry between the three leading actors, which is so evident when they are trapped in prison together and making conversation about not a lot. Then there is the beautiful slow shots of New Orleans and the Louisiana swamps which, in the crisp black and white of the film, look absolutely stunning. It probably made a better case for how interesting this area is to film than the full blown animation of The Princess and the Frog.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.