Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai–Jarmusch Deconstructive Meditation, Starring Forest Whitaker

A companion piece to Jim Jarmusch’s last feature, “Dead Man,” “Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai,” is just as eccentric, mysterious, and mythic.  This time around, Jarmusch aims at deconstructing the gangster-mobster genre, as seen through the eyes of an ancient Samurai text.  In fact, sections of the text are printed on the screen as well as narrated in voice-over.

A dramatic rethinking of the contemporary hit man film, “Ghost Dog” stars Forest Whitaker in a uniquely American urban tale, infused with the quiet restraint of an Ozu feature.

One of the most original films to be shown in Cannes Film Fest that year, the film is by turns poetic, bizarre, and occasionally quite moving.

As always, Jarmusch defies viewers’ expectations, and the film’s best scenes involve verbal or visual incongruities.

While some critics found “Ghost Dog” interesting, resonant and self-reflexive, others were bored by its slow pacing and deliberate style.

The new film was more commercially popular than Dead Man, the deconstructive Western which starred Johnny Depp and Robert Mitchum (of all people).


Produced by JVC/Bac Films/Le Studio Canal Plus

Directed and written by Jim Jarmusch

Producers: Richard Guay, Jim Jarmusch

Camera: Robby Muller

Editor:   Jay Rabinowitz

Design: Ted Berner

Costumes: John Dunn

Music: RZA

Running Time: 116 Minutes


Ghost Dog (Forest Whitaker)

Louie (John Tormey)

Sonny Valerio (Cliff Gorman)

Vargo (Henry Silva)

Raymond (Isaach de Bankole)