Dead Man (1995)

Like the paper flowers that William Blake (Johnny Depp) finds absent natural scent, Dead Man is built on self-conscious artificiality. Jim Jarmusch’s neo-Western is as influenced by woodcut animation or a matinee performance of a silent-movie serial; where Sergio Leone’s post-modern approach the Western exaggerated the cinematic tropes of the genre, Jarmusch filters those conventions…

Blue Ruin (2013)

Blue Ruin (2013)

Blue Ruin feels like a feature-length version of the suspenseful, often silent showdowns found within understated thrillers. I’m thinking Coen Bros specifically – the climax of Blood Simple, or the hotel showdown between Chirgurh and Moss in No Country for Old Men. Executed right, these scenes practically define the cliché “on the edge of one’s…

No Country for Old Men (2007) – A Defence

Lincoln Flynn’s recent essay argues that No Country for Old Men’s primary aim is to analyse the thematically significant perspective of Sheriff Bell, but that the film’s tonal disparity limits its artistic success: I don’t agree that the shift in tone is a shortcoming. NCFOM is a faithful adaptation of McCarthy’s novel, leaving the Coens’…