The reviews of the film Dead Man are somewhat mixed with a slight edge going on the positive side. One critic, Roger Ebert, clearly didn’t get it and absolutely misses the boat entirely.
The film is raw and sharp and crisp. It’s a sort of slow punk infused western, filmed in black and white with a harsh Neil Young sound track. It’s a film that is trying to find it’s identity and that search is precisely the identity it seeks.
Necessarily violent at times with plenty of non-gratuitous killing, on the surface it is the story of an accountant turned killer by circumstance and pursued by bounty hunters. We know, subjectively, what the point of the film is, but probably, like me, can’t quite articulate it because it’s hidden in the visuals and the music; not so much the dialog — at least not directly.
This is a western filled with existential import and profound questions that only a mature perspective can grasp. Apparently that was something Mr Ebert was unable to do. (1996, Johnny Depp, Gary Farmer, Crispin Glover, Lance Henriksen)