as much as i adore jarmusch's films, i would hesitate to say he ever made anything as gorgeous and absorbing as two of his earliest efforts, "stranger than paradise" and "down by law." "dead man" is singular and hypnotic, and inevitably remains (to me at least) his last startling, inventive effort (i haven't had the opportunity to finish "limits of control," but i was quite taken with the hour i watched). john lurie, whose bizarre teflon acting helped characterize both "stranger" and "law," was responsible for creating both of their respective soundtracks, and they are terrifically evocative, with an almost bartokian string implementation and noted aylerisms. unlike most soundtracks, lurie's music is never passive and continually invites a world entirely of its own.

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