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In the town of Centerville, USA (population 768), everything moves a little slower, even the apocalypse.
The Dead Don't Die
Cinema 21, Portland, OR
Preview showing 6/13
What if we made a zombie movie where no one really cares that there are zombies? A sort of dull, apathetic acceptance to the horrific and odd world events happening around them. Legendary director Jim Jarmusch gave me pretty much exactly what I thought he would--an un-deadpan (ha ha) black comedy with an all-star cast: Bill Murray, Adam Driver, Tilda Swinton, Steve Buscemi, Tom Waits, Chloe Savigny, and a slew of other cameos I won't spoil here.
In the town of Centerville, USA (population 768), everything moves a little slower, even the apocalypse. When citizens realize the sun isn't setting, people start talking. Radio reports come in about electricity failures and other oddities taking place globally; even the head of the Power and Energy Board comes on air to assure us all that these crazy events have "absolutely nothing to do with the increase of ice fracking."
It's a nice little message from Jarmusch; the message rolls into something a little more personal, as when the undead return, we see them going back to "the things they did in life." We see ghouls holding cell phones they can't use, muttering "wi-fi" and "facebook." Undead children looking for toys and candy. Zombified soccer moms practicing tennis. Undead dads flocking to tool stores. It plays to a larger theme of mindless consumption--cheeky, albeit effective.
I feel like critics and audiences aren't going to go crazy for this right off the bat; this is a slow burner, deliberately paced, unflinchingly sincere in its presentation, unwavering in its self-awareness, and steadfast in its brazen humor. You'll know what I mean if and when you see it. I think Jim Jarmusch is a great writer, and the banter he creates will be quoted between friends as inside jokes 10 years from now. It's 100% a cult film in the making.
In a time where multiplexes are filled with Avengers and Wicks and Dark Phoenixes, mammoth sized films with astonishing budgets and record breaking box office returns, it was refreshing to see a flick that was just as aware as the audience that it didn't need to be made. Though I am glad it was.
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