The Dead Don't Die ★½

I've been sitting with this one for a while and I hate to say it but The Dead Don't Die sucks. I have an admiration for Jarmusch, and I think there are some interesting ideas at play here. The problem is the film plays itself as a sort of masterpiece, as if it's the smartest comedy ever made when in fact it has nothing to say and the best """jokes""" are the laziest brand of 4th wall breaking that, again, don't have any substance.

I dunno, I really liked the performances--I found them to be super stylized in a fun way, Driver and Murray play off one another well, and I liked whatever it was Buscemi and Swinton were doing. There just isn't much to any of the characters beyond repeating lines, there's nothing funny about a zombified Iggy Pop moaning "coooofffeeeee" or Driver constantly reminding the audience "this is all going to end badly."

Mileage is probably gonna vary on this one, it clearly worked for my audience since there was pretty consistent laughter. I'm just not sure what they were laughing /at/, like, what is inherently funny about Driver's character acknowledging he had read the script? Sure, maybe there's a good bit buried in there somewhere but this is a movie made for audiences primed by Deadpool and MCU """relatable banter""" to mistake off-beat twee quirkiness for actual humor.

It also warrants mentioning that Jarmusch can't write women to save his life, Chloe Sevigny's character is reduced to basically a damsel in distress and as far as I can tell Selena Gomez is only in this movie because seeing violence done to hot young women is a turn on (her performance, all five minutes of it, is actually pretty good though).

Ultimately, The Dead Don't Die just falls into the camp of believing that doing a trope on-screen is the same as being self-aware or even critiquing said trope. This is not the case, and if the underlying thesis of the movie is that popular media turns people into mindless zombies, well, good on Jim Jarmsuch for contributing to the very thing he set out to critique, I guess? *extreme irony voice* pretty deep when you think about it man

Jean-Luc liked this review