Jim Jarmusch made a new movie and it’s clever and has got lots of that droll not quite ha-ha funny thing you get in the Jim Jarmusch movies, and lots of your Jim Jarmusch–movie pals are here, plus, this movie is a genre movie, a zombie flick, with strong nods towards George A. Romero’s Night of The Living Dead and Dawn of the Dead, classics, both containing serious commentary about the way we live now.
The theme song for this picture is the titular and resonantly resolutely old-school Country & Western “The Dead Don’t Die,” by Sturgill Simpson, who sounds like he’s singing out of Merle Haggard’s grave, in a good way, though, this is a zombie movie and we are celebrating non–death and the reanimation of corpses. The song should def get an Oscar; it’s not just a good tune, it’s about the movie, it fits the movie, and it reinforces the movie.
The Sturgill Simpson song pops up several times, as the opening credits theme and then later as an annoyance, the way lotsa Jim Jarmusch movies are annoying, because they move deadly slow and sort of repeat themselves while they build, and beyond that, annoying-wise, the pernicious, tone-defining, and yet vital precious-cuteness of many Jim Jarmusch movies is in full effect.
Like that vampire flick he did, Only Lovers Left Alive,—which I thoroughly enjoyed—the way the hip vampire couple had all the stuff, all this vintage consumer gear, and cool music stuff, guitars and the like, and how precious and priceless it all was, and just so dang COOL, like the vampires themselves, that idea was crucial to filling out the characters and making them real, and I cruised along in their reality until the end of the film, as the characters themselves existed in their secure bubble of eternal darkness.
I don’t wanna SPOILER the thing that ripped me completely the fuck out of what I was feeling was going to be a satifying and otherwise mostly logical take on the whole zombie-movie experience—like, how would you behave, what would you do in a zombie apocalypse—so once I got ripped out, I settled down and accepted it, only to be ripped out a couple more times.
It hurts my feelings to get ripped out of a movie and be reminded it’s only a movie even though I knew it was a movie when I bought the ticket, but the ripping-out this movie delivered to me felt personal, and I got mad at the movie, and I got irrationally mad at Bill Murray, and Adam Driver, and then I got really mad at Chloë Sevigny, but that was because I just read an article in The New Yorker about her line of eyewear being carried by Warby-Parker, and the three main characters, small-town police officers portrayed by Sevigny, Murray, and Driver, are all wearing goddamn eyeglasses and I kept getting mad that it was a product placement and the cool kids were getting over and getting paid while they did.
I recommend this movie for people who celebrate classic zombie movies and enjoy Jim Jarmusch movies, and that should be enough paying customers to get Mr. Jarmusch to his next project.