Sunday, November 11, 2012


Written & Directed By: Jim Jarmusch Cinematography By: Christopher Doyle Editor: Jay Rabinowitz Cast: Issach DeBankole, Paz De La Huerta, John Hurt, Alex Descas, Tilda Swinton, Youki Kudoh, Gael Garcia Bernal A solitary man who does not speak Spanish is an underground courier. Two men who are both thuggish and philosophical send him to Madrid with cryptic instructions. Over the course of a few days, he receives his instructions from a series of distinctive individuals who provide words of philosophy or of warning and also give him a matchbox with a tiny piece of paper, which he reads then eats, accompanied by espresso served in two cups. He is quiet, self-contained, focused on his work. He has rules. He encounters and at times transmits a violin, diamonds, a guitar, and a map. Is he a smuggler? Merely an independent conduit? Or, something else? With all the recognizable faces in the film that are mostly little more then one scene cameos that are supposed to move the story forward. It feels like the actors are playing dress up. Only acting as the costume dictates they should. Though it is nice to see actors from Jim Jarmusch’s Previous films reuniting with him here. Even the Visuals by Cinemantographer Christopher Doyle don’t distract enough for you not to notice how lackluster the film is. All the espionage in this film with secret codes, wacky side characters, Main character quirks and bright shiny international surroundings. It feels like the film is a homage to those crazy spy films of the 60’s like MATT HELM and OUR MAN FLINT. Maybe Jim Jaramusch is making his own type of film that he makes up as it goes along. Starring a silent hitman like the one in LE SAMURAI thrown into all these strange surreal situations. The film is all style and no substance. It wants you to believe there is some substance or some deep meaning behind it all, But I didn’t find any at all. It’s cut and definitely dry. As usual with a Jim Jarmusch film there are great visuals including a female character played by Paz De LA Huerta who is always nude. She is almost a work of art herself. Close to perfection and the closest the film gets to a femme fatale and as time seems to stand still in her scenes. She is the perfect distraction for the character and audience as no one can take their eyes off of her. She appears to have nothing really to do with the film…But I’m not complaining. The international locale gives the film a spirit a certain funkiness, but it also makes the material feel flat by comparison. It’s hard to give this film a harsh review as I am a big Jim Jarmusch fan. He is a big inspiration to me and obviously one of my favorite directors. This film feels lost and is a big disappointment to me at least. I really wanted to like it. I tried to like it. All the hallmarks are there Dry Humor, Quirks, Long stretches of film with little to no dialogue, Eclectic Soundtrack. Instead of finding myself captivated and admiring the film as it went along. I found myself bored. Rent only if you are a completist when it comes to jarmusch films. All the problems most critics found with his film DEAD MAN (Which i loved) I found to be more appropriate here. GRADE: C-


  1. im a fan of your show. i live in detroit and watch your youtube show annually. i thought this film was good but boring at times. i would give it a 7/10.

  2. I think Jeff's right. There's a really uncomfortable lack of story here that just drags the film no matter how many cameos there are.