2 Films By Jim Jarmusch: Down By Law/ Night On Earth


Timed to coincide with the release of Broken Flowers, this Jim Jarmusch collection seems distinctly overpriced, given the brevity of the movies and the total absence of any extras. Yes, Down By Law – Jarmusch’s black-and-white 1986 comedy about a pair of bickering convicts (played by musicians Tom Waits and John Lurie) forced to share a prison cell with Roberto Benigni’s motor-mouthed oddball – is probably his most successful and satisfying work to date, full of sly character detail and priceless moments (“I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream!”). But 1991’s portmanteau piece Night On Earth – five short films linked by a unifying cab-driving conceit – is as bitty and uneven as the director’s recent Coffee And Cigarettes, with only one section (Benigni again, shocking a priest into seizure with a bizarre bestial confession) rivalling its companion’s appealing blend of hipster cool and indie noir.

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