Generally favorable reviews - based on 31 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 44 Ratings

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  • Starring: ,
  • Summary: Jarmusch's spiritual gangster film tells the story of an inner-city hit man (Whitaker) who lives on a rooftop, training himself as a samurai in the strictest sense. He communicates primarily by carrier pigeon, while remaining loyal to a gangster (Tormey) who once saved his life.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 22 out of 31
  2. Negative: 2 out of 31
  1. Jim Jarmusch has come up with something strange and amazing.
  2. 90
    Laced with brilliantly knotted ideas on race, masculinity and cults of violence.
  3. It's the kind of movie you wish you had more time to absorb and could see more than once before reviewing.
  4. (Jarmusch's) most accessible film after "Night on Earth," yet it's still elliptical and enigmatic.
  5. It's beautifully cast and filmed (cinematography by the matchless Robby Muller) and often quite moving, despite the fact that most of the characters are never developed much beyond mythic or parodic prototypes.
  6. Reviewed by: Jay Carr
    Best when it's playful, toying with the fact that the Mafia has in a single generation been transmogrified from myth to joke.
  7. It's too cryptic and unfulfilled to serve as a tool for anything beyond its own obfuscation.

See all 31 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 18 out of 20
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 20
  3. Negative: 2 out of 20
  1. Sep 26, 2011
    Magnificent movie, one of Jarmush's best. And if you happen to be into Zen philosophy, hiphop music, and gangster flicks like me, you'll give it a 10 as well. Expand
  2. MarkK.
    Apr 27, 2001
    Go see it. Enough said.
  3. StevenS.
    Apr 16, 2007
    Great philosophical dialogue, honorable characters, intriguing plot line among Samurai-Warriors, and was I believe Forest Whittaker's finest acting performance prior to his recent Award win. His breathtaking performance had me convinced that someday he would win an Oscar for best actor, and it all starts in the beginning. Also, props to Rza for being in this film and for producing such a killer soundtrack. One of the better underrated indy films I have seen, and is better than most over-produced studio films. Expand
  4. Jul 10, 2014
    Overall, this film is pretty good. It features some brilliantly filmed action sequences, great direction from Jim Jarmusch, and a good performance from Forest Whitaker, all of which help this film mightily. It is also incredibly original, as it not everyday that you see a film that blends samurais and gangsters. This film is undeniably a fun and easy film to watch, in spite of the times when it does slow down. The only real "negative" I can think of here is that the film is pretty safe for the most part. Yes, the idea it is based around is original, but for the most part, it feels like your regular old action crime film. Now, while I call that a "negative", it is not really a bad thing since the film is still good, but it would have been nice to see them use the original idea to rise above the genre. Ultimately, however, it is a solid film that really sucks you in thanks to its original premise and solid directing/action/acting. Highly watchable without question. Expand
  5. Oct 10, 2011
    Despite its B-flick movie poster, Jim Jarmusch's mash-up movie "Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai" is a surprisingly well structured samurai-gangster movie you would definitely watch when having extra time to spend. Expand
  6. Sep 27, 2010
    "Ghost Dog," the story of an inner city dweller who lives by the way of the samurai soaks up its premise not in blood splatter but in level-headed absurdity and complexity, a focus that takes much more time to absorb. Still, the movie is fun in ways that you wouldn't expect - the antagonists are comprised of the worst ...mob probably ever caught on film: they are regularly shown whacking the wrong people, watching cartoons (the movies sly way of equating mob violence to cartoon violence) or falling behind on their rent. Ghost Dog, played by Forest Whitaker, is quite a character himself, trying to make sense of the world through Zen judgment and ancient ways by frequently quoting relevant passages from Hagakure, the book of the Samurai. Furthermore his 'best friend' is an ice cream truck man who can only speak French. This combined with the fact that the movie isn't afraid to address questions of morality and racism make the movie even more of a head-scratcher but nevertheless entertaining. To top it all off, RZA's soundtrack is one of the highlights of the film, layering it with great old-style Wu-Tang hip-hop that is enough to make the movie worth watching itself. Expand
  7. Dec 29, 2012
    The story progression is painfully slow. I almost fell asleep watching the first 10 minutes of this film. Then I have to click fast forward to see what really is in store for this movie. Sadly there is not much to see. Ghost dog is plainly boring. There are so many dull moments. For example what is with the walking in the beginning of this film. And what's with the birds flying and flying and flying around. What a waste of video time. Collapse

See all 20 User Reviews