Keep up-to-date on your favourite artists and movies, track gig and release dates, and join in the conversation.
SEARCH RESULTS FOR
The SWITCH team laughed and cried their way through the best drama films on streaming services - click here for our list!x
review, The Dead Don't Die, The, Dead, Don't, Die, film, movie, latest movies, new movie, movie ratings, current movie reviews, latest films, recent movies, current movies, movie critics, new movie reviews, latest movie reviews, latest movies out, the latest movies, review film, latest cinema releases, Australian reviews, cinema, cinema reviews, Bill Murray, Adam Driver, Tilda Swinton, Chloë Sevigny, Steve Buscemi, Danny Glover, Caleb Landry Jones, Rosie Perez, Iggy Pop, Sara Driver, Jim Jarmusch, Comedy, Fantasy, Horror film rating

THE DEAD DON'T DIE

★★★★

A ZOMBIE COMEDY THAT'S ANYTHING BUT GRAVE

SYDNEY FILM FESTIVAL REVIEW
LATEST REVIEWS
By Charlie David Page
14th June 2019

Who doesn’t love a good zombie movie? They’re a mainstay of cinema, dating back almost a century to the 1930s. When infused with comedy, they offer new potential for enjoyable entertainment (‘Shaun of the Dead’, ‘Zombieland’), but all too often stumble (‘Scouts Guide to the Apocalypse’, ‘Zombie Strippers’). The latest edition to this very niche genre, ‘The Dead Don’t Die’, is a unique offering, standing apart from its predecessors. Coming to us less than a month after premiering at Cannes, its Australian debut at the Sydney Film Festival is a special opportunity to check out the (fittingly) thirteenth film from indie director Jim Jarmusch.

Something strange is happening in the town of Centerville. The sun is still shining long after it should have set, technology is going haywire, and animals seem to have disappeared completely... and that’s all before zombies start appearing. It’s up to Chief Cliff Robertson (Bill Murray) and Officer Ronnie Peterson (Adam Driver) to save the town - but who will survive? The officers? The odd mortician Zelda Winston (Tilda Swinton)? Nerdy gas station attendant Bobby (Caleb Landry Jones) and hardware store owner Hank (Danny Glover)? The Cleveland hipsters (Selena Gomez, Austin Butler and Luka Sabbat)? Racist farmer Frank (Steve Buscemi)? Or maybe Hermit Bob (Tom Waits)?

SWITCH: 'THE DEAD DON'T DIE' TRAILER

The answer is, probably not. The body count on this film is damn high, and utilises every possible weapon, big and small. This is a zombie film, but not as you know it - it has a deadpan sense of humour and quirky style. This helps to land the visual jokes; even though it’s forewarned, nothing can prepare you for Officer Ronnie driving up to a crime scene in a convertible Smart car, or Zelda Winston’s unique makeup stylings for the deceased. Even when it comes to the bludgeoning of the undead, it’s all portrayed so ridiculously that you can’t help but snicker.

The film is an absurd mix of genres. Whether it’s Adam Driver breaking the fourth wall - on multiple occasions - or the slaughtering the undead followed by a deadpan quip, there’s no end to the moments of amusement. Even the zombies get their share of laughs - gravitating towards things they enjoyed during life, they wander about groaning “coffee”, “Snapple” and even “Chardonnay”. Nevertheless, it’s also a loving tribute to the zombie genre, particularly George A. Romero’s classic ‘Night of the Living Dead’.

This is a straight-and-out Jim Jarmusch film, shot plainly and simply to allow his screenplay and the acting talents to shine through. He utilises comedy standards like repetition of jokes, but within the boundaries of the world Jarmusch has created, they land perfectly again and again. It’s also great to see creative partnerships being repeated; in addition to reuniting with DoP Frederick Elmes (‘Night on Earth’, ‘Paterson’, ‘Broken Flowers’) and editor Affonso Gonçalves (‘Only Lovers Left Alive’, ‘Paterson’), the filmmaker previously worked with Adam Driver, Tilda Swinton, Iggy Pop and Bill Murray in his films ‘Paterson’, ‘Only Lovers Left Alive’, ‘Gimme Danger’ and 'Broken Flowers' respectively.

This is a zombie film, but not as you know it - it has a deadpan sense of humour and quirky style.

The jaw-dropping collection of actors is referred to as "the greatest cast ever disassembled", and they’re not wrong. Driver and Murray have a great on-screen partnership; the young officer’s pessimism may grate on the should-have-retired-two-years-ago police chief’s nerves, but they make a formidable undead-fighting duo. Buscemi is also wonderful as the unruly farmer, taking advantage of his limited screen time perfectly. But the crown of this film must go to Tilda Swinton; she is so peculiar and so unconventional that every moment she’s on screen is a delight. Her talents know no bounds, and it appears that idiosyncratic zombie comedies are not excluded - her pitch-perfect performance is one for the ages.

The film does have its imperfections. Female Officer Mindy Morrison (Chloë Sevigny) is certainly lacking the bravery and level-headedness of her male counterparts, which is a somewhat disappointing and almost unnecessary element in 2019. There’s also an entire storyline with three kids in juvenile detention who break out, yet we never learn what happens to them.

These minor quibbles aside, ‘The Dead Don’t Die’ is a luxuriously paced, wittily gory zombie comedy. It’s part social commentary, part homage to cinema, and all ridiculous. With yet another pleasing genre film on offer from Jim Jarmusch, you’d be dead right to want to check it out.

FAST FACTS
RELEASE DATE: 26/09/2019
RUN TIME: 1h 43m
CAST: Bill Murray
Adam Driver
Tilda Swinton
Chloë Sevigny
Steve Buscemi
Danny Glover
Caleb Landry Jones
Rosie Perez
Iggy Pop
Sara Driver
WRITER/DIRECTOR: Jim Jarmusch
PRODUCERS: Carter Logan
Joshua Astrachan
TheDeadDontDie
TheDeadDontDie
TheDeadDontDie
TOP-RATED REVIEWS
Looking for more Sydney Film Festival reviews? Click here to check out our collection of this year's highlights.
Spies in Disguise - An awesome animated spy film for the whole family
TRENDINGWIN SPIES IN DISGUISEAn awesome animated spy film for the whole family
The Sophia Loren Collection: Volume One - See the screen legend like never before
TRENDINGWIN THE SOPHIA LOREN COLLECTION: VOLUME ONESee the screen legend like never before
Locusts - A low-key, low-down thriller
TRENDINGLOCUSTSA low-key, low-down thriller
Burning Kiss - Baroque, eye-catching Australian neo-noir
TRENDINGBURNING KISSBaroque, eye-catching Australian neo-noir
28 Days Later - ...15 years later
TRENDING28 DAYS LATER...15 years later
Gallipoli - A powerful and important film remembered
TRENDINGGALLIPOLIA powerful and important film remembered
Lockdown and Catch Up - The best action films streaming right now
TRENDINGLOCKDOWN AND CATCH UPThe best action films streaming right now
Portrait of a Lady on Fire - A perfect film on the language of desire
TRENDINGPORTRAIT OF A LADY ON FIREA perfect film on the language of desire
Back of the Net - Misses the net, and then some
TRENDINGBACK OF THE NETMisses the net, and then some
Five Feet Apart - Breathing borrowed air and clichés
TRENDINGFIVE FEET APARTBreathing borrowed air and clichés
Sleeping Beauty - A history of Disney's masterpiece on its 60th anniversary
TRENDINGSLEEPING BEAUTYA history of Disney's masterpiece on its 60th anniversary
Richard Jewell - Man versus media
TRENDINGRICHARD JEWELLMan versus media
Benjamin - Gay dramedy tugs at the heartstrings in all the right ways
TRENDINGBENJAMINGay dramedy tugs at the heartstrings in all the right ways
The Violin Player - Sex and strings
TRENDINGTHE VIOLIN PLAYERSex and strings
River's Edge - The kids aren't alright
TRENDINGRIVER'S EDGEThe kids aren't alright
Birds of Prey - I'm here to report a terrible crime: DC has saved cinema
TRENDINGBIRDS OF PREYI'm here to report a terrible crime: DC has saved cinema
Jumanji: The Next Level - Adventure sequel is serious family fun
TRENDINGJUMANJI: THE NEXT LEVELAdventure sequel is serious family fun
Inseparable Bros - A heartwarming tale about disability and the power of friendship
TRENDINGINSEPARABLE BROSA heartwarming tale about disability and the power of friendship
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker - Making sense of the end of the 'Star Wars' saga
TRENDINGSTAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKERMaking sense of the end of the 'Star Wars' saga
Lockdown and Catch Up - The best family films streaming right now
TRENDINGLOCKDOWN AND CATCH UPThe best family films streaming right now
© 2011 - 2020 midnightproductions
All rights reserved

Support SWITCH | Disclaimer | Contact Us