Jim Jarmusch is one of the most prominent American independent filmmakers of his generation and still remains an important cinematic figure even today. He arrived on the scene with his superb directorial feature debut in 1980; Permanent Vacation established crucial themes which would be further explored throughout his body of work, and also marked the arrival of a distinguished new talent. It was clear from the very start that Jarmusch was a very different kind of filmmaker. It may not appear so now, but that's because he has proven so influential in not just the American indie scene, but global cinema as a whole.
His sophomore effort - 1984's Stranger Than Paradise - cemented the Ohio-born director as a talent to keep an eye on. Decades later, fans still keep a keen eye on his activity. He's delivered such fantastic works as Mystery Train, Night on Earth, Dead Man, Coffee and Cigarettes, Only Lovers Left Alive and more - how could you not keep an eye on him? His oeuvre is undeniable, and with every passing year, it seems that more budding film fans are diving into his filmography. The release of his forthcoming 2019 effort - The Dead Don't Die - will likely prompt a significant increase of his fanbase; not only this, but it will attract many who may never even have heard of him.
The film is a horror-comedy which will see the director tackling the zombie sub-genre for the very first time. When the project was announced, fans expected there would be very little stress on the stricter genre elements. Yet, the trailer suggests that he has fully embraced them, whilst offering his own unique twist, of course. As for the plot, we are set to journey into the small town of Centerville, which happens to be dealing with a zombie crisis. With the undead rising, the townsfolk must unite and take them on. Humorously, it appears that the zombies "gravitate towards the things they did when we're alive", which , in one instance, sees a make-up laden Iggy Pop hilariously pining for coffee.
It's an impressive first trailer and looks like an absolute blast. Immediately, it's billed as "The greatest zombie cast ever disassembled." Sharing similar marketing tactics to the recent films of Wes Anderson (The Grand Budapest Hotel), the film is being sold to a wider audience on the merits of its famous ensemble, which features Adam Driver, Tilda Swinton, Steve Buscemi, Bill Murray, Caleb Landry Jones, Selena Gomez, Tom Waits, Rosie Perez, Danny Glover, RZA and more. Most of these are friendly collaborators of Jarmusch, proving just how admirable of a rapport he builds with his cast. Driver and Murray appear to be the leads and are teasing terrific, deadpan performances. Both can attract audiences, and along with the rest of the bill, The Dead Don't Die may prove unstoppable.
The Dead Don't Die | Poster pic.twitter.com/fh8rWOuWmM— Adam Driver UK (@AdamDriverUK) April 1, 2019
To this day, Jarmusch remains an indie filmmaker and his most recent film - 2016's quaint and lyrical Paterson - was a testament to that. Despite working with budgetary restrictions and the like, Jarmusch's work never feels compromised, and actors regularly flock to work with him as a result of his unwavering reputation. He's worked with the best of them, but The Dead Don't Die may boast his most striking ensemble to date. This alone will attract more potential audiences than ever before, but along with the horror-comedy appeal, this may just be the director's most financially successful film yet.
Perhaps we will see Jarmusch tackle something much more expensive after this? It is possible, but honestly, profitability will unlikely sway the humble filmmaker. Either way, it's wonderful that The Dead Don't Die has received considerable attention. Jim Jarmusch surely deserves it.
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