Previously at the ICA - Films
27 Nov 2016
Jim Jarmusch’s (Only Lovers Left Alive, Broken Flowers) breakthrough movie is a wry drama featuring several of his early collaborators. In a New Orleans jail for crimes they didn’t really commit, small-time crooks Zack (Tom Waits) and Jack (John Lurie) unexpectedly find themselves sharing a cell with Roberto (Life is Beautiful’s Roberto Benigni, in only his second English-speaking role), a hyperactive Italian incarcerated rather more justifiably on a manslaughter rap. Although grudgingly amused by Roberto’s impish good cheer, the other two are more seriously impressed with his escape plan. But once free and stranded in the Louisiana swamps, they apprehensively decide go their separate ways, with decidedly mixed outcomes.
The moody, deep-focus black-and-white cinematography, bone-dry screenplay, magnetic central characters and imaginative casting herald Jarmusch’s ascendency as major auteur.
Down By Law, dir. Jim Jarmusch, US 1986, 104 mins.