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GHOST DOG :THE WAY OF THE SAMURAI: DVD

SYNOPSIS:
Ghost Dog (Forest Whitaker) lives alone - except for his friendly homing pigeons - on a rooftop in New York, a self made, modern Samurai warrior who has attached himself to a master in the form of a middle ranking gangster (John Tormey) who once saved his life in an alley brawl. His pigeons deliver the master's commands - usually instructions to kill a rival. Ghost Dog lives strictly by the Samurai code, even when his life is in danger, such as when Mr Vargo (Henry Silva ) demands Ghost Dog's execution with the help of Ghost Dog's own master.

Review by Andrew L. Urban:
Ghost Dog is a film full of yin and yang, a unique, engaging and haunting film, a striking examination of warrior codes - East and West - which erect false gods to the so called nobility of battle. Jim Jarmusch can never be accused of making dull or predictable films.

As elusive as it is entertaining, as complex as it is simple, it blends genres and styles, and upends our expectations, whilst feeding others. The film begins with the flight of a homing pigeon against the sky, an image that flutters throughout the film, but never quite lands. Indeed, many of the metaphors in the film seem obtuse, and the moral ambiguity of Ghost Dog's actions are perplexing.

On the one hand, he is a warrior with a strict code, in which honour is highly esteemed. On the other, he is a callous killer, a thief and ultimately vengeful. But Jarmusch manages to make all this absorbing - and appear meaningful - as an intriguing clash-of-cultures story, with the two codes (Samurai, Mafia), presenting themselves through individual characters.

It may be that Jarmusch is showing us the shallowness of so called codes that aspire to nobility yet continue to break the principal human code of decency, perhaps the most noble of all human virtues. In any case, he does work with truly some talented people - and casting Forest Whitaker as Ghost Dog is itself a creative act - giving us great music (superbly echoing that morality theme of repetition, promise yet denial of ultimate arrival) and excellent cinematography.

The film is dense with images and ideas, suggestions and subliminal prodding, enough to make you feel you've had a meal. And there is enough of the action genre in it to please the thrill seekers.

There's a 20 minute special feature on the DVD (The Odyssey: The Journey into the life of a Samurai) an isolated music score, deleted scenes and theatrical trailer.

Published August 3, 2006

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GHOST DOG :THE WAY OF THE SAMURAI: DVD (MA15+)
(US, 2000)

CAST: Forest Whitaker, John Tormey, Cliff Gorman, Henry Silva, Isaac de Bankole, Tricia Vessey, Victor Argo

DIRECTOR: Jim Jarmusch

SCRIPT: Jim Jarmusch

RUNNING TIME: 116 minutes

PRESENTATION: Widescreen

SPECIAL FEATURES: The Odyssey: The Journey in to the Life of a Samurai; Isolated Music Score: Soundtrack by RZA; Deleted Scenes

DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Madman

DVD RELEASE: June 21, 2006







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