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Dead Man, Directed by Jim Jarmusch

Miramax Films, May 10, 1996 (US)

Screenplay: Jim Jarmusch

Starring: Johnny Depp, Gary Farmer, Crispin Glover, Lance Henriksen, Michael Wincott, Eugene Byrd, John Hurt, Robert Mitchum, Iggy Pop, and Gabriel Byrne

I read a story yesterday about four youths who were held at gunpoint and asked to kneel down. They obeyed. I am not capable of truly imagining their terror.

Nobody (Gary Farmer): Did you kill the white man who killed you?

William Blake (Johnny Depp): I’m not dead. Am I?

Each was promptly shot in the head, execution style. No apparent motive other than the human demon or the crazed fear of mortality and powerlessness that leads to an irrational need to stake one’s claim as hunter rather than hunted. Kids who were just beginning to sprout into their bodies and minds were now dead in a morgue. They were everyone and now they are no one.

William Blake: What is your name?

Nobody: My name is Nobody.

William Blake: Excuse me?

Nobody: My name is Exaybachay. He Who Talks Loud, Saying Nothing.

We are the hunted and we are the hunter. Our flesh burns and melts in the flames. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust, we take our last wide-eyed breaths before we sink into the rising flood. Disease rots our bodies and minds. We are missing in earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes. We see headlights coming straight at us before we see nothing at all. We are old. Young. Our hearts give out. Our kidneys fail. Our heads are blown off into bloody bits and stained streams of shattered dreams. We jump off bridges and buildings in order to make it end sooner. We watch the news and somehow become immune to stories of murder and genocide as if we aren’t the ones being scalped by machetes, as if our homes aren’t the ones being torched with us tied up inside.

Nobody: You are being followed, William Blake.

William Blake: Are you sure? How do you know?

Nobody: Often the evil stench of white man precedes him.

We rape the land that we think we own. We rape our women and children. We go to mass and pray for our sins as we listen to a preacher who, as far as we know, has never touched our daughters or sons. We choose to believe in the inherent goodness in people because the alternative is unthinkable. And it is unthinkable.

We kill for food and we kill for sport. We kill out of boredom.

Train Fireman (Crispin Glover): Look … they’re are shooting buffalo. Government says it killed a million of ‘em last year alone.

We are the buffalo. The endangered. We are already extinct.