DEAD MAN (1995) starring Johnny Depp

I really wanted to like this movie. Reading the reviews on Amazon, I think I should have loved it. I feel like a cretin because it bored the snot out of me. Nothing about it worked, not even Johnny Depp’s soulful eyes in a performance made when he was still really good.

I have a sneaking suspicion that I would have gone all crazy over this when I was in my twenties or teens. The symbolism and the Native American motifs and mysticism would have struck me as innovative, cutting edge, unique, etc. But since I’d never heard of this movie until coming across it on Netflix, I assume that it failed to connect in the box office so it wasn’t just me.

There are plenty who did see a lot in this movie and therefore the comment to those who found it dulling are always along the lines of “You just don’t get it.” Really? Whose fault is that then? Except I do get it, if that means comprehending what the writer/director is trying to say. It’s a “quirky” (I am so starting to hate that word) rite-of-passage story about a dull young man who stumbles through life and winds up on a journey with a Magical Negro, although in this case, not really a Magical Negro but rather a Magical Indian (Native American).

The film’s only strength is in the myriad performance by a large cast of familiar cameo performers. The sequence of scenes becomes mesmerizing as a pattern falls into place: funny, boring, boring, boring, GORY VIOLENCE, funny, boring boring GORY VIOLENCE…

I’ll give some credit for trying. It comes close to being original but came off as slow and pretentious. I’ve come to realize that Johnny Depp has starred in more movies that I dislike than movies I have enjoyed. This one was a definite clunker.

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