This film is part of Rentals

Down by Law 15 rating

Jim Jarmusch’s classic American indie is a bewitching blend of prison movie, poetic fable and comedy.

Comedy 1986 107 mins

Director: Jim Jarmusch


A bewitching blend of urban noir, prison movie, poetic fable and comedy, Jim Jarmusch’s pitch-perfect third feature is a classic of American indie cinema. Jack (John Lurie) and Zack (Tom Waits) both think of themselves as the coolest dudes in New Orleans, until they’re chucked in the clink in the same cell as the irrepressibly cheery Roberto (Benigni), whose seeming naivety conceals an ingenious plan for a prison break.

Jarmusch’s sharp contrasting of the surly Waits and Lurie with Benigni’s goofy innocence results in a hilarious and, finally, surprisingly touching film, enhanced by Robby Müller’s black and white camerawork and Lurie’s fine score (performed by such New Orleans luminaries as Tony Garnier, Nana Vasconcelos, Arto Lindsay and Marc Ribot). Ultimately it’s a film that effortlessly reaffirms Roberto’s maxim that we live in a “sad an’ beautiful world”.