By Randy Pelish
“The dead don’t die”? Of course, they do, and that is the point of this Jim Jarmusch paean to the great George Romero. Small town America is invaded by the undead and as Bill Murray’s deputy Adam Driver repeatedly says, “…this is not going to end well….”
Unlike the Romero 1968 classic Night of the Living Dead humanity is not saved. Why is that? In a word, hubris.
The good and bad are swept up by the zombies and devoured. We are repeatedly warned by the news media of the inevitable danger of fracking and the polar axis shift. The local residents seem oblivious to the threat. Even young hipsters, like the older hipsters who created this fine film, are victims of the unrelenting appetite of capitalism. They are merely so much grist for its voracious mill.
The “A list” cast goes about their grim tasks with professional zeal. Bill Murray and Adam Driver are particularly well matched. As their relationship becomes increasingly conflicted the audience is inevitably concerned. This film has a large number of excellent performances.
The director, an old hipster himself, has not lost his touch. This morality play is a warning to the citizens of the planet Earth.
Jim Jarmusch has created a stunning portrait of our international failure to address real issues. Self-interest trumps all else. It is a cynical exercise in self-examination of our collective super ego. As the cleric-poet John Donne observed so many centuries ago, “Ask not for whom the bell tolls. It tolls for thee.…” This satire poses a similar question, “will we merrily go to hell”, or shall we try to save ourselves from ourselves? Like Donne we can only pray.
Don’t miss this one, folks.