Bill Murray, Adam Driver and Chloë Sevigny lead Jim Jarmusch’s droll but directionless opening nighter
Jim Jarmusch’s undeadpan comedy is laconic, lugubrious and does not entirely come to life, despite many witty lines and tremendously assured performances by an A-list cast. It’s a droll if directionless riff on a fondly remembered, affectionately reanimated genre: the middle-America zombie nightmares of George A Romero, when the flesh-munching bodies tumble out of their graves, now utterly surrendered to the conformism, consumerism and cannibalistic narcissism that ate away their souls, long before their ostensible death.
The Dead Don’t Die naturally alludes to these traditional satirical expressions of zombie-ism – we get zombie teens mumbling “wifi …” – there are hints at Samuel Fuller and Robert Bloch and with zombie-ism symbolising the persistence of memory and lost loved ones, there might even be a reference to William Faulkner’s line about the past being never dead and not even past. But Jarmusch’s movie is in danger of succumbing to a zombie-ism of its own: a narcotic torpor of self-aware coolness.