The Dead Don’t Die Movie Ending Explained (In Detail)

Spoilers Alert:

Jim Jarmusch joins in THE DEAD DON’T DIE New territory. The true melancholic delivers a perfect zombie film with this comedy. But not without staying true to his line. We reveal more about this in our review.

The plot

A shift in the earth’s axis triggers a series of strange events in the tranquil small town of Centerville. While Sherriff Cliff Robertson (Bill Murray) is still puzzling, his colleague Ronald Peterson (Adam Driver) is certain: It must be an epidemic of zombies. However, these are not only targeting the citizens of Centerville, but also things that they preferred to deal with during their lifetime. This is how they walk the streets – hungry for human flesh, coffee and even a glass of Chardonnay. When it turns out how to get hold of the undead ghouls, the police duo armed with a machete and shotgun and supported by their young colleague (Chloë Sevigny) hunt for zombie heads in order to save the city from the invasion. They receive unexpected support from the strange Scottish undertaker Zelda Winston (Tilda Swinton), who can swing her samurai sword with unearthly precision.


In his hands, vampires became daydreamers (“Only Lovers Left Alive”)bus driver to poet (“Paterson”) and eternal bachelors turned amateur detectives (“Broken Flowers”): We’re talking about Jim Jarmusch. The Ohio-born auteur loves looking at underdogs and brings them closer to us than ever before. He often sets a calm pace that could sometimes be dismissed as sluggish or even slow. This is good for the tragedy in his stories. The punchlines of his comedies, on the other hand, have to be looked for much longer. And so a certain degree of skepticism was certainly appropriate when it was said that Jarmusch’s next project would be nothing less than a real zombie comedy. But the king of US independent cinema and multiple film award winner, including in Cannes and Locarno, draws on all the ingredients of his previous work. Starting with a veritable Jarmusch all-star ensemble, through a script written by him, to the greatest possible reduction in terms of tempo and punchline density, “The Dead Don’t Die” is through and through a Jarmusch film that once again conforms to common viewing habits plays and will not only make friends with it.

Tom Waits plays Hermit Bob, a kind of observer from the outside and narrator of the upcoming events…

There are a few moments in “The Dead Don’t Die” in which Jim Jarmusch just hits the viewer with the gags: For example, when the two main characters Cliff and Ronald talk about their relationship with the director himself, who is currently on the radio evaluate the current theme song or “Star Wars” actor Adam Driver talks about the qualities of the Star Wars saga. On paper, such meta-whispering seems like a foreign body in the comedy, which otherwise works primarily through nuances, but thanks to the actors involved, the tonality of the film remains constant from start to finish. Even in the moments where Jarmusch’s script is obviously heading for a punchline, “The Dead Don’t Die” is still so indirect in its resulting comedy that the film is a far cry from classic thigh-slapping comedies. Instead, it’s the absurdity of the premise itself that creates the joke. The characters react to the zombie invasion as calmly, calmly and boredly as if they were dealing with the umpteenth shoplifter. Even when Ronald says the infamous Z-word for the first time, he only gets an indifferent shrug of the shoulders from his surrounding colleagues. This sense of indifference to the premise that evokes anything other than that in other films shifts the film’s gag rhythm throughout. Just as if you always clap half a note too late on the correct beat in a song, the smile at the outrageous dialogue and developments always comes a few seconds later than the situation provokes. And sometimes it doesn’t do it at all, because many situations, sometimes even entire subplots, come to nothing.

What one could accuse other authors of as a lack of skill (and if one is honest: pointless subplots per se, which have no effect whatsoever on a film’s events, do not suddenly become the pinnacle of screenwriting, even in the hands of Jim Jarmusch), is preserved in the The context of the rest of the plot doesn’t suddenly make sense, but it underlines the laissez-faire spirit with which the author and director advances his plot without worrying about any unwritten film rules. A subplot in a correctional home can sometimes only serve to make you wonder how the characters in it actually relate to each other, or a farmer on his remote farm can serve to draw attention to his animals, which are approaching Anticipate undead invasion long before humans. In any case, in “The Dead Don’t Die” it’s hardly the people who arouse the viewer’s interest, but rather the circumstances into which the zombie attacks bring them. And as if it were a big surprise, the joke here rarely comes from the fact that the dead bodies themselves are funny (with the exception of the fact that they are not only after human flesh, but also Wi-Fi and coffee, the zombies remain clear here more of an accessory than in other zombie films), but from the way people fight against them.

Tilda Swinton as Zelda Winston is the scene stealer in The Dead Don’t Die.

At the forefront is Tilda Swinton, armed with a samurai sword (“Doctor Strange”), which attracts attention from the start with its choppy movements and clear pronunciation. We don’t want to reveal exactly what her strange figure of Zelda Winston is all about at this point. Just this much: Without them, “The Dead Don’t Die” wouldn’t be half as absurd in the final phase as it has become. In addition to her, Bill Murray in particular gets it (“St. Vincent”) and Adam Driver (“The Man Who Killed Don Quixote”) the opportunity to play big. They adapt perfectly to the non-rhythm of the film and always maintain their sense of timing in this tonal confusion; an almost impossible task to maintain constancy in emphatic inconsistency. Chloë Sevigny, finally appearing on the big screen again (“Snowman”) Unfortunately, due to screen time, she doesn’t have the opportunity to emerge from the shadows of her colleagues. She remains more of a cue taker until the end, while supporting actors like Steve Buscemi (“Lean on Pete”)Iggy Pop, RZA (“Brick Mansions”) and Danny Glover (“A Crook & Gentleman”) can at least set accents in their respective scenes. As one of the few newcomers in the well-coordinated Jarmusch ensemble, Selena Gomez impresses (“Spring Breakers”) as an equally inscrutable and likeable hipster girl, whose end we never saw coming – like the complications in the finale, with which Jim Jarmusch once again pulls out all the stops of surprising storytelling. Viewers will either love him or hate him for that.

Conclusion: Jim Jarmusch also does what he does best in “The Dead Don’t Die” and relies on the greatest possible reduction – not only in terms of tempo, but also in the creation of his gags. The star-studded zombie comedy is so funny primarily because everything about it is designed to ensure that it isn’t. You have to like it, you can love it.

“The Dead Don’t Die” can be seen in selected USA cinemas from June 13th.

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