I’m a latecomer to Jim Jarmusch; the first of his movies that I saw was Dead Man, only about a couple of years ago. I liked that one a LOT, so I’ve been randomly picking through his filmography ever since. All the others I’ve seen have been pretty good, but this is the first one I’ve seen that might rival Dead Man for “Favourite Jarmusch Film”. Ghost Dog: The Way Of The Samurai is an independent action film that is part jidaigeki movie, part gangster movie, set to a hip-hop soundtrack. And everything combines perfectly.
Forest Whitaker plays Ghost Dog, a hitman who follows the code of the ancient samurai, and the movie shows what happens when that code conflicts with that of the modern Mafia. Whitaker is AMAZING, he’s usually a good actor but in this movie he’s stellar. And the story is interesting, but what’s MORE interesting is the way it’s told: in the hands of another director it could have been a whiz-bang splatterfest, but this movie is slowly paced and thoughtful, making it much more like an old-school samurai movie. Love it, love it, love it.