鬼狗杀手 鬼狗杀手 7.5分

[Last Film I Watched] Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai (1999) 7.7/10

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Conflating the samurai tenet within a tailing-off gangster underworld in an unnamed USA city, Jim Jarmusch’s version of LE SAMOURAI is profoundly branded with his idiosyncrasies: a nocturnal urban topography tinged with retro-flair and bleakness (mostly seen behind the wheels), a vibrating, mind-bending, killer soundtrack (courtesy to RZA), aperversity and absurdity presiding over the turn of events (cartoon hooked mobsters, a lethal shot fired from a drain pipe, the cameo of Gary Farmer’s Nobody from DEAD MAN 1995, etc.), a tangy timbre ofacedia inhabits in some of his dramatis personae (the boss’s daughter portrayed with crashing nonchalance by a sylph-like Tricia Vessey)and a total abandon of anhedonia (twice, the dog’s gaze is the self-reflexive bellwether of a preordained corollary).

Ghost...

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Conflating the samurai tenet within a tailing-off gangster underworld in an unnamed USA city, Jim Jarmusch’s version of LE SAMOURAI is profoundly branded with his idiosyncrasies: a nocturnal urban topography tinged with retro-flair and bleakness (mostly seen behind the wheels), a vibrating, mind-bending, killer soundtrack (courtesy to RZA), aperversity and absurdity presiding over the turn of events (cartoon hooked mobsters, a lethal shot fired from a drain pipe, the cameo of Gary Farmer’s Nobody from DEAD MAN 1995, etc.), a tangy timbre ofacedia inhabits in some of his dramatis personae (the boss’s daughter portrayed with crashing nonchalance by a sylph-like Tricia Vessey)and a total abandon of anhedonia (twice, the dog’s gaze is the self-reflexive bellwether of a preordained corollary).

Ghost Dog (Whitaker), a self-claimed retainer of the world-weary mobster Louie (Tormey), who has saved his life eight years ago, is a proficient hitman abiding by the codes ofHAGAKURE: THE BOOK OF THE SAMAURAI, written by Yamamoto Tsunetomo in the early 18th century, living alone in the top of a building with a bevy of messenger pigeons, his disciplined life and allegiance is challenged when the local mafia boss Ray Vargo (a deadpan Silva) and his right-hand man Sonny Valerio (Gorman), both superiors of Louie, decide to do away with Ghost Dog as a scapegoat for a mission he has adroitly accomplished, a fatuous move because they have no inking of Ghost Dog’s credentials, who will become their imminent nemesis, save the wobbling Louie, who is inadvertently submitted to the receiving end of Ghost Dog’s undivided loyalty, chiming in with the RASHOMON (a book which undergoes a ritualistic full circle in the end) motif, even their recollections of their first encounter are different (with clear visual aid here), which shrewdly explains the discrepancy of their attitudes, for Louie it may be merely a self-defense, yet for Ghost Dog, he roundly leaves his own life to the mercy of Louie.

An artistically knowing discord looms large between Ghost Dog's zippy choreography and efficiency to rub out his over-confident but ponderous,long-in-the-tooth rivalsand a languid but cordial narrative arc encompassing Ghost Dog, his best friend Raymond (De Bankolé), a francophone-only Haitian ice-cream vandor, and a prepubescent bookworm Pearline (Winbush), to whom Ghost Dog eventually lendsHAGAKURE, a deed of passing on his mantle.

Forest Whitaker superbly channels a less laconic Alain Delon in the titular role,but is far more superior in transmitting a loner’s variegated inscape, hewing to his codes of honor andliving by liquidation of mortals, but it doesn't necessarily negate that he can have a warm soul underneath, and truly, the warmth quotient increases whenever there is a scene between him andIsaach De Bankolé’s motormouth Raymond, the latter is the bees knee for a sore eye, amusingly and edifyingly, Jarmusch points up that human beings can build a communicative bond in spite of a seemingly insurmountable language barrier, and it is this humanistic perspective gives the film an edge over its built-in romanticism of indiscriminately adhering to something exotic and gnomic, so at large, GHOST DOG is worth cherry-picking by Jarmusch newbies and diehards alike.

referential points: Jarmusch’s ONLY LOVERS LFET ALIVE (2013, 6.3/10),Jean-Pierre Melville's LE SAMOURAI (1967, 8.5/10)

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