Though not as critically successful as his debut, Stranger Than Paradise, director Jim Jarmusch's Down By Law is a worthy follow-up in a similar vein. It features the same deliberate rhythm, off-beat characters, deadpan humor, and emphasis on photography (by the famed German cinematographer Robby Müller). Willfully original and intensely independent, the typical Jarmusch film isn't a product that mainstream audiences are likely to enjoy. He combines his enigmatic characters with the esoteric pacing and sensibility of his peer, Wim Wenders. Down By Law is slightly more accessible than Wenders' films, however, due to the slapstick presence of Roberto Benigni. Benigni's staccato voice and mincing of English clichés are very funny, though Jarmusch occassionally lets him run on too long. Luckily, the director keeps the rest of the film generally obtuse, uncertain and interesting. Brendon Hanley
Audio Interview with Jarmusch from 2002; Interview with Director of Photography Robby Müller from 2002; Footage from the 1986 Cannes Film Festival, including a press conference with Jarmusch and actors John Lurie, featuring Commentary; ; Sixteen Outtakes; Music Video for Tom Waits'' cover of Cole Porter''s "It''s All Right With Me," directed by Jarmusch; ; Q&A with Jarmusch in which he responds to fans'' questions; ; Recordings of phone conversations between Jarmusch and Waits, Benigni, and Lurie; ; Production Polaroids and location stills; Trailer; Isolated Music Track; Optional French dub track, featuring Benigni; ; Plus: An essay by critic Luc Sante
I saw New Orleans after I had seen this movie and I am sure I saw more because of it. Great film and great music. It's Raining sung by Irma Thomas written by Naomi Neville (Allen Toussaint) is a gem in this movie and available on a great CD from Charly - Soul. I got to know New Orleans, Irma Thomas and Allen Tossaint - all from this movie. See it.
More than 1 year ago
It's an interesting premise with three convicted criminals sitting in a cell. Nothing happened that was suggestible in any jail parlance, so don't worry. What is implied by the film and the prison is life is ultimately about dealing with boredom and how boredom can break down those coveted relationships we have.
More than 1 year ago
With a cast of Tom Waits, John Lurie and Roberto Benigni, direction by Jim Jarmusch, and music by Tom Waits and John Lurie, there is not really a way this could be a bad movie. Tom Waits' and John Lurie's music fits perfectly into the grimey after-hours New Orleans setting, and Roberto Benigni, (always the confused Italian tourist) brings some heartwarming humor to the table. After all three escape from a Louisiana prison, they are left to their own wits traversing the bayou with little idea where they are. In beautiful black and white, this movie is unbeatable on all fronts. With beat generation coolness and noir influences, Down By Law cannot be missed.