Down By Law
ok, been meaning to watch this for a while. i'm beginning to really
dig jim jarmusch. the guy makes such cool, off the wall films. nobody does it quite like him.
tarantino once said that Jackie Brown is a "hangout movie". that he purposely paced it so, that for the first hour of the film, give or take, he made a conscious decision to just let the viewers hang out with his characters and get to know them and what they're about. now, while Jackie Brown had it's fun moments, i couldn't help but think about how this film deploys the same mentality, but ever so much more successfully. this is mainly a hangout movie, in that you get to know the characters, and through the majority of it, you just see how they play off each other and interact. this is even strengthened further by being a film about three guys who escape prison, without ever showing the actual escape (again, much like in tarantino's Reservoir Dogs - which was only made some 10 years later ofc). i love that kind of zooming out, and deciding to highlight different aspects of a story, in a way that puts it into a new and refreshing context.
the casting on this is immaculate - tom waits' swagger, and that demeanor that just oozes cool, fit his character perfectly. john lurie as jack the pimp was almost surprisingly endearing. he took that simple part, and breathed a whole sense of life and depth into it. but with all that said - the real star of this movie for me is roberto benigni. his character here might just be one of my fav characters ever. and his portrayal of it is just perfect. absolutely spot on. so funny and deeply profound at the same time. you throw-a the ball against me.. i throw-a the ball-a against-a you! i ham a good egg-a.
the interaction between all three is funny, moving, upsetting, thought provoking. just great stuff.
now, this might sound bizarre, but one of the things i like most about this film (and, in retrospect, in Dead Man too) is the way it sounds. jarmusch almost has a lynchian quality with the way he handles sound in his films - it's so crisp. clear. slightly detached. the subtlety in which he does it is masterful imo. it colours everything in this slightly surreal shade, almost without you realizing why. but it's there. the way steps scratch, fabrics chafe, objects clink together. jarmusch does it much more subtly than lynch, who usually goes for an all-out nightmarish vibe - but it gives his films, and particularly this one, a really beautiful, unique quality.
plus there are a couple of tom waits songs, which is nice.
this is definitely one i'll watch again in the future.