Ghost Dog - The Way of the Samurai (1999) [English (MPEG Layer III, 127 kBit/s, 44 kHz, Stereo)]
Genre: Action / Crime / Drama
Length: 1h 56m 0s
Director: Jim Jarmusch
Tagline: Live by the code. Die by the code.
Plot outline: In New York, an African-American hit man follows Hagakure: The Way of the Samurai. He lives alone, in simplicity, with pigeons, calling himself Ghost Dog. His retainer, who saved his life eight years' ago, is part of the local mob. When the boss's daughter witnesses one of Ghost Dog's hits, he is expendable. The first victims are his birds, and in response, Ghost Dog goes right at his attackers but does not want to harm his retainer or the young woman. On occasion, he talks with his best friend, a French-speaking Haitian who sells ice cream in the park, and with a child, with whom he discusses books. Can he stay true to his code? And if he does, what is his fate? Summary written by {jhailey@hotmail.com}
Comment: Jim Jarmusch's films have always been an acquired taste and `Ghost Dog' is, assuredly, no exception. Not content to spin out straightforward narratives, nor to adhere to the standard strictures of any particular genre, Jarmusch at least deserves credit for his originality, iconoclasm and daring. But such an approach to filmmaking comes with some built-in pitfalls and risks, and, in Jarmusch's case, the quality of his films has often been much less than the sum of their impressive parts. Furthermore, a filmmaker who so deliberately taxes the patience of his audience may find more people leaving the theatre than coming in. In both plot and style, `Ghost Dog' is a bizarre hybrid - made up of equal parts samurai adventure tale (though there is no sword fighting), urban street crime drama and Italian mafia gangster film. Forrest Whitaker plays the mysterious Ghost Dog, a black man steeped in the ways of the ancient Samurai Code. Having been saved from death eight years earlier by an Italian mobster, Ghost Dog now dedicates himself, according to the samurai oath of loyalty, to fulfilling the needs and desires of his new `master.' Thus, Ghost Dog spends his time gunning down `contracts' as per his leader's request. But with his latest `hit,' Ghost Dog has struck too close to the mafia boss himself and now the hunter has become the hunted. The plotting, which is convoluted and inscrutable much of the time, is obviously not the area in which Jarmusch's heart as both writer and director - truly lies. Style has always been this filmmaker's main preoccupation, and `Ghost Dog' does manage to combine just enough `slightly off' elements effectively to create a world rich in mysticism and exoticism. The mere concept of an urban black gangster adhering to an ancient Japanese code - involved with a group of Italian gangsters adhering to their own similar ancient code - somehow lends itself to the exotic. Moreover, Jarmusch's methodical and deliberate pacing, his use of a slowly gliding camera, his reliance on a haunting urban soundtrack all contribute to establishing and effectively maintaining the air of surrealism found in the concept itself. Yet, for all its undeniable virtues, `Ghost Dog' is, ultimately, not a very compelling film. Part of the problem rests in the fact that, for all its originality of vision, the film emerges, finally, as a bit too pretentious, smug and self-satisfied. We are supposed to see Ghost Dog as somehow nobler than his mafia counterparts because he seems motivated by a higher cause the ancient samurai code. Snippets of the code are read to us and flashed on the screen during scene fade-outs to make us appreciate the `beauty' and `wisdom' of this classic belief system. Yet any way you cut it or gussy it up, Ghost Dog is STILL nothing more than a cold-blooded killer love pigeons, dogs, cutesy ice cream vendors and adorable little girls though he may. Just because the samurai code has the concept of `tradition' behind it doesn't make it necessarily worthy of respect or admiration. And just because Ghost Dog is so dedicated to the rule of `loyalty' that he will mow down dozens of men because his `master' asks him to doesn't make him any more heroic than the mafia leaders who - not being as poetic by nature I guess - have the sad misfortune of couching their oaths of loyalty in much less self-congratulatory terms. `Tradition,' as Tevye was forced to learn, is not, in and of itself, inherently superior to more enlightened thinking simply because it has managed to survive many centuries or even millennia intact. The theme of the film then simply becomes offensive when it is obviously intended to be deep and meaningful. Given that situation, we find ourselves less inclined to go along with the director's patience-demanding glacial pacing. Thus, `Ghost Dog,' unless you are a diehard Jarmusch devotee, will probably end for you long before the closing credits roll by.
IMDB Rating: 7.6
Country: USA
Language:
Subtitels: No ()
CDs: 0
Quality:Video (?x? @ ?.?? [[unknown] ?kb/s])

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IMDB address

Actors:
Forest WhitakerasGhost Dog
John TormeyasLouie
Cliff GormanasSonny Valerio
Dennis LiuasChinese Restaurant Owner