Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Second Chances Don't Come Along Too Often

Fashioned as sort of a rather bizarre yet somewhat normal odyssey of a movie, Down By Law is rather unique in that it manages to seemingly combine comedy with drama. Most of the movie's rather humorous and delightful moments stem from the fact that this trio of main characters are not just out of luck, they in desperate need of help from a divine power. Each of the three hapless imprisoned cast brings their own style, and they are notable from one another in many different ways.

Jim Jarmusch is widely known for creating different types of independent movies, each of them not similar to the others. Here, he gives us a crime drama with humor, properly utilizing the rather talented musician Tom Waits, John Lurie (who appeared in other films of his) and the rather clownish Roberto Benigni, who strangely is this movie's true heart and soul. Trapped first in a jail then forced to go on the run, these men for some reason or another experience rather outrageous hardship and then finally get a tiny slice of luck that somehow just happens to fall their way.

There is a tender friendship that slowly builds amongst these men, so much that even when Lurie's Jack and Waits' Zack have the opportunity to leave Roberto behind, they end up choosing not to. Of course one has to speculate that they acknowledged the wheel of karma in going with such a plan of action, yet I highly doubt any of them gave a damn about karma. It was simply not a bad idea at the time, and they were close anyways.

Even though the picture drags near the end, Down By Law is a rather delightful film, Jarmusch's exercise in humanity. None of these men are bad people, and the choices they end up making are only interesting in that they are unsurprisingly straightforward and simple. Life does have a rather odd way of, after dealing you rather terrible cards, deciding to change its mind and not only have a new dealer operate with a new deck, but take pity on you and give you a re-deal. If you are lucky or just smart enough to earn such a reward, of course. 93

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