- 5 out of 5
The Dead Don't Die - Zombies with a side order of satire
The tag-line for this film is "The greatest zombie cast ever disassembled" and it's true. Jim Jarmusch's latest film brings a stellar cast including Bill Murray, Adam Driver, Tom Waits, Steve Buscemi, Chloe Sevigny, Danny Glover, Tilda Swinton, Selena Gomez, Iggy Pop, etc, etc. They are all here for the fun of working with writer and director Jim Jarmusch - and they look like they are having fun, lots of it.
The film revolves around the town of Centerville, whose town sign proclaims it's "a really nice place". Meanwhile, fracking at the North Pole, tilts the Earth's access which brings the dead to life, or makes them undead, if you follow. Cue zombies who begin to take over the town and they behave like all of George A Romero's zombies apart from one distinction - they seem to come back looking for the thing they were doing before they died and this creates a lot of comedic moments, a lot.
I really liked the first Act where we establish the police partnership of Chief Cliff Robertson (Bill Murray) and Officer Ronnie Peterson (Adam Driver). We get to meet Hermit Bob (Tom Waits) too in a pre-title sequence. I would have quite happily seen an entire film based in this world. The zombies who arrive in the second Act are almost an intrusion. The scene when the police arrive at the diner after the first zombie attack was comic genius.
Again, another Marmite film. I have seen both five star and one star reviews. I understand how this film will divide audiences. The wit is dry, dark and sardonic. There are lots of in-jokes such as Adam Driver's Star Wars key-ring. The humour is pushed almost to farce but the cast bring it back. Bill Murray is deadpan. Tilda Swinton is marvellous and Tom Waits is, well, Tom Waits. The final scene with Tilda Swinton's character is bizarre but I went with it. The fact that the characters sometimes know they are in a film is both funny and quirky. Murray's and Driver's discussion of the script is a mind-bending disruption of a wall - just not sure it's the fourth wall.
Go see this and revel in Tier 1 character actors at the top of their game. Try to spot all the in-jokes and cameos, and just don't take it all too seriously.