Sunday, March 27, 2016

Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai (1999)

Director: Jim Jarmusch

Writer: Jim Jarmusch

Composer: RZA

Starring: Forest Whitaker, John Tormey, Cliff Gorman, Frank Minucci, Richard Portnow, Tricia Vessey, Henry Silva, Frank Adonis, Victor Argo, Damon Whitaker

More info: IMDb

Tagline:  All assassins live beyond the law... only one follows the code

Plot:  An African American mafia hit man who models himself after the samurai of old finds himself targeted for death by the mob.

My rating: 7.5/10

Will I watch it again?  Yes.

While I've known about his for ages, I only just got around to watching it and I really dug it.  There's an underlying sense of fun that elevates this.  It's a picture that balances a lot of things at once and it does them all very well.  With the strange tone in constant flux, you'd think that the film would have difficulty with its identity but it's so smoothly handled.  The cast is great.  I'm not sure why Henry Silva's role as a gang boss was so preoccupied with cartoons but it's just one more thing to pay attention to the next time I see it.  The music works well in an odd way and the ending is very good.  It's good storytelling and in a way that's unexpected.  I dismissed this for years because of the silly title but now I see that that's part of the film's charm.  It's just odd but it works so well.  The Artisan DVD has a nice anamorphic widescreen print with extras including an isolated score, several trailers for the film, 6 minutes of outtakes, a making of featurette (21 minutes) and a music video for the song, Cakes.

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