||Title: Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai
|Genre: Action, Crime, Drama, Thriller
|| Year: 1999
|| Country: France, Germany, USA, Japan
||Starring: Forest Whitaker, John Tormey, Cliff Gorman, Dennis Liu, Frank Minucci
|| Director: Jim Jarmusch
My Review: Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai - 1999 (Action, Crime, Drama) Directed by Jim Jarmusch (Stranger than Paradise, Dead Man, Z-Channel A Magnificent Obsession, Broken Flowers, The Limits of Control), starring Forest Whitaker, John Tormey, Frank Minucci, Richard Portnow, Isaach De Bankole and many others. This is a masterpiece. A surprising movie; filled with power and energy, but lacking in explosions and action. The acting was excellent, the casting superb. The story - Classic, twisted, introspective, well directed, thoughtful. The story is one of 'Ghost Dog' an African American assassin living in Jersey City. He's dedicated himself to the Italian American mobster who saved his life. Following a very strict Bushido code, 'Ghost Dog' goes about his duty with precision, finesse and unflinching loyalty. Life throws a curve ball at Ghost Dog when his master's acquaintances decide to 'take him out'. The character development is superb. Jarmusch could easily stretch this one movie into an entire television series with several seasons worth of fresh exploration around the characters alone. The story is complicated, challenging and less predictable than any action flick in the typical 'mobster' genre. The camera work and music were instrumental in building an outstanding atmosphere and mood, establishing a setting that felt foreign, ancient, mystic and honorable in the midst of a decaying New Jersey slum, crack addicts, and mobsters who's code of honor extends only as far as their petty personal grievances. The contrast of mobsters - traditionally depicted as following a code - vs this Bushido grounded assassin makes for a fantastic movie. The dialog between Ghost dog and the ice-cream vendor was magnificent. Compelling, tragic and original. This movie pays homage to whole genres with it's outstanding pacing, performance, direction, dialog and writing. I give it a 5 out of 5.
Summary: In Jersey City, an African American hit man follows "Hagakure: The Way of the Samurai." He lives alone, in simplicity with homing pigeons for company, calling himself Ghost Dog. His master, who saved his life eight years ago, is part of the local mob. When the boss' daughter witnesses one of Ghost Dog's hits, he becomes expendable. The first victims are his birds, and in response, Ghost Dog goes right at his attackers but does not want to harm his master or the young woman. On occasion, he talks with his best friend, a French-speaking Haitian who sells ice cream in the park, and with a child with whom he discusses books. Can he stay true to his code? And if he does, what is his fate?