Keep up-to-date on your favourite artists and movies, track gig and release dates, and join in the conversation.
SEARCH RESULTS FOR
The Korean Film Festival in Australia is underway - make sure you click here to check out our reviews from this year's line-up!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.
Ride Like a Girl - Michelle Payne's Melbourne Cup win rides onto the big screen
TRENDINGWIN RIDE LIKE A GIRLMichelle Payne's Melbourne Cup win rides onto the big screen
Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark - Terrifying tales come to life
TRENDINGWIN SCARY STORIES TO TELL IN THE DARKTerrifying tales come to life
Ad Astra - A luscious and meticulous space drama
TRENDINGAD ASTRAA luscious and meticulous space drama
Backtrack Boys - Heart-rending and inspiring
TRENDINGBACKTRACK BOYSHeart-rending and inspiring
Dora and the Lost City of Gold - Dora meets Indiana Jones (and a song about poop)
TRENDINGDORA AND THE LOST CITY OF GOLDDora meets Indiana Jones (and a song about poop)
Braid - A dark and unhinged fairytale
TRENDINGBRAIDA dark and unhinged fairytale
The Wandering Chef - A delicious tale of human connection
TRENDINGTHE WANDERING CHEFA delicious tale of human connection
Good Boys - More than just a young 'Superbad'
TRENDINGGOOD BOYSMore than just a young 'Superbad'
Dreamland - Surrealist noir
TRENDINGDREAMLANDSurrealist noir
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
Danger Close: The Battle of Long Tan - Close to home
TRENDINGDANGER CLOSE: THE BATTLE OF LONG TANClose to home
Judy & Punch - A dark fairytale from a fresh Australian voice
TRENDINGJUDY & PUNCHA dark fairytale from a fresh Australian voice
Children of the Sea - Sunk by a soggy script
TRENDINGCHILDREN OF THE SEASunk by a soggy script
Sydney Underground Film Festival 2019 - The reviews
TRENDINGSYDNEY UNDERGROUND FILM FESTIVAL 2019The reviews
Downton Abbey - Transition from TV to film not as classy as expected
TRENDINGDOWNTON ABBEYTransition from TV to film not as classy as expected
It Chapter 2 - The ambitious conclusion to the beloved horror epic
TRENDINGIT CHAPTER 2The ambitious conclusion to the beloved horror epic
The Angry Birds Movie 2 - Flying a little bit higher the second time around
TRENDINGTHE ANGRY BIRDS MOVIE 2Flying a little bit higher the second time around
The Day Shall Come - A hilarious take on a flawed system
TRENDINGTHE DAY SHALL COMEA hilarious take on a flawed system
Top End Wedding - Outback fantastic
TRENDINGTOP END WEDDINGOutback fantastic
Lion - A raw and powerful journey of identity
TRENDINGLIONA raw and powerful journey of identity
© 2011 - 2019 midnightproductions
All rights reserved

Support SWITCH | Disclaimer | Contact Us