Ghost Dog: Way of the Samurai
Starring: Forest Whitaker, Henry Silva
Director: Jim Jarmusch
DVD Release Date: June 19, 2001
Run Time: 116
This is a superb movie for the right audience.
Long before Tarentino did Kill Bill there was Ghost Dog starring Forrest Whittaker. Jim Jarmusch cast the shambling, casual almost bearish Forest Whitaker in the lead old of an action movie. This was the first of a lot of daring choices in a movie which succeeds on so many levels while remaining just outside of the realm of appealing to a general audience.
Ghost Dog is a modest success in that it has limited appeal and features actors of limited range. Where Ghost Dog excels is in the presence of Whitaker and an engaging storyline which successfully combines elements of the gangster movie genre with those of the samurai movie and the classic Hollywood western.
Bushido is at the heart of Ghost Dog. The Japanese code of the Samurai plays such an important role that no action of the title character (Whitaker as Ghost Dog) can be considered outside the light of Bushido – The Way.
Simultaneously “the way” of La Casa Nostra is an equal character in Ghost Dog which leads to the final confrontation and resolution of the movie. This is a movie about honour and integrity, about competing codes: One code which is honourable and one which has pretense of honour. The character of Ghost Dog is the personification of Bushido and a modern Samurai in a modern world. This is not a great movie. There are too many flat line deliveries and flat performances for Ghost Dog to enter into the realm of even a mainstream movie, but it is definitely a worthwhile choice as a second movie rental for the casual viewer. For fans of the samurai genre and proponents of Bushido it is a must own.
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