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  Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai Stop the Pigeon
Year: 1999
Director: Jim Jarmusch
Stars: Forest Whitaker, John Tormey, Cliff Gorman, Henry Silva, Camille Winbush, Isaach De Bankolé, Victor Argo, Gary Farmer
Genre: Comedy, Drama, ThrillerBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 4 votes)
Review: Ghost Dog (Forest Whitaker), a hitman who lives his life by the code of the Samurai, is targeted by some ageing gangsters. When they kill his carrier pigeons, he takes his bloody revenge.

Forest Whitaker gets his best role in Jim Jarmusch's thriller. Obviously, Jarmusch's idea of a thriller isn't like anyone else's, and what you get here is a deliberately paced gangster movie full of humour and charm. I hesitate to use the word "quirky", because that suggests a certain inconsequentiality, and Jarmusch's films really stay with you. Ghost Dog is a great character: he's respectful, polite, spiritual and an avid reader; he should get his own car, though. Oh yeah, and he kills people, but hey, nobody's perfect.

The nature of the film means you can guess how Ghost Dog will end up pretty early on, but it's a film of mood and character rather than narrative drive. What you get out of this film depends on how much you put into it; I particularly like the scenes with the ice cream man. Probably the Jarmusch film with the highest body count. Watch for: the boat builder on the roof, Gary Farmer from Dead Man, all the gangsters watching cartoons on TV, like Felix the Cat or Itchy and Scratchy. Listen for: the fine soundtrack from the Wu-Tang Clan's RZA.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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Jim Jarmusch  (1953 - )

American writer-director of laconic, wryly observed dramas on a low budget. Deliberately boring films like Permanent Vacation and Stranger Than Paradise got him noticed, which led to the great Down By Law and episodic Mystery Train and Night on Earth. Then came his western, Dead Man, and his thriller, Ghost Dog, both in his highly individual manner.

Talk piece Coffee and Cigarettes was filmed over many years and saw a return to his episodic style, while 2005's reflective drama Broken Flowers was specifically written for star Bill Murray, who showed up in starry but inscrutable hitman drama The Limits of Control. Next was his first horror movie, Only Lovers Left Alive widely regarded as a late return to form. Paterson was a drama about a bus-driving poet, again acclaimed, but his return to horror with zombie flick The Dead Don't Die was widely bashed. Also appears in quirky cameo roles: eg. Leningrad Cowboys Go America, In the Soup and Blue in the Face.

 
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