There was no script, the cast was comatose and sitting through it was agony.
Focus Features spent all the money on theater standees. With the cast and the hallowed Jim Jarmusch writing and directing (STRANGER THAN PARADISE, which everyone refers to when speaking of Jarmusch was released in 1984), I actually paid to see THE DEAD DON’T DIE.
With many of the cast having been in other Jarmusch films, I assume he is an indulgent director (I.e., he lets them do whatever they want) and a terrific guy. Let’s also mention he has a distinctive look. Sometimes, these things really count.
This zombie comedy stars Jarmusch repeat performers Bill Murray, Adam Driver, Tilda Swinton, Tom Waits and Iggy Pop. I only liked ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE because Swinton and Tom Huddleston played vampires in Morocco and Swinton was dressed gloriously. I screamed in pain through PATTERSON starring Driver as a bus driver. No matter how dismally Jarmusch films do, the stars return!
No one actually lives in the town of Centerville, where cops Cliff (Bill Murray) and Ronnie (Adam Driver) patrol the empty streets.
With Murray an icon, every cast member follows his pace, which entails a motionless, deadpan expression and a droll sense of accepting anything that happens as a disinterested bystander.
I’d love to see Murray in crazy town or a serial killer. He has the ability to disappear in any crowd, which would make him the perfect anonymous serial killer.
Whatever brought about the dead returning to life and the things they liked to do, is not important. What do the townsfolk think about their dead friends eating the intestines of the diner’s only waitress? The town’s third cop, in a town of so few people, is Mindy (Chloe Sevigny). No one read the script so Chloe has only a few lines. With one black resident, old Hank (Danny Glover), you would think racist comments by Farmer Miller (Steve Buscemi) would be played out and buried decades ago.
Because Swinton is so varied and above criticism when playing kabuki characters, she gets a pass for her role as a medical examiner named Zelda. Zelda has a deep Scottish accent and lives in Centerville! Then there is Tom Waits as a hermit and Iggy Pop as a zombie.
I kept hoping the zombies would eat everyone. And then the spacecraft arrived.
Victoria Alexander is a member of Las Vegas Film Critics Society: www.lvfcs.org/. Victoria lives in Las Vegas, Nevada and answers every email at firstname.lastname@example.org. For a complete list of Victoria Alexander's movie reviews on Rotten Tomatoes go to: rottentomatoes.com/critic/victoria-alexander/