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Jarmusch has said that the film's odd, generally slow rhythm -- hypnotic if you're captivated by it, as I am, and probably unendurable if you're not--was influenced by classical Japanese period movies by Kenji Mizoguchi and Akira Kurosawa.
The A.V. Club
Jarmusch's trademark quiet irony, affinity for the outcast and oddball, and moonscape visuals suit the Western genre well.
It's a tale that subtly reinterprets the genre and delivers Jarmusch's most accomplished, if not necessarily his most accessible film to date.
San Francisco Chronicle
Dead Man plays a lot of cards at the same time, and Jarmusch occasionally loses his rhythm when he allows his actors their improvisational riffs.
Filmed in black-and-white with an eerie score by Neil Young, and using contemporary dialogue and mannerisms, Jarmusch's picture has a dream-like quality.
It's not a bad movie by any stretch of the imagination, just one that grabs your attention and then lets it go, time and time again.
The New York Times
The film's energy begins to flag after less than an hour, and as its pulse slackens it turns into a quirky allegory, punctuated with brilliant visionary flashes that partially redeem a philosophic ham-handedness.
After a promising beginning and an amusing middle, the movie gets stuck in limbo.
Dead Man is a strange, slow, unrewarding movie that provides us with more time to think about its meaning than with meaning.
San Francisco Examiner
Particularly because unlike so many other boring movies one sees, Jarmusch films require many more words to explain the boringness than less certifiably artistic films would.
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