Down by Law
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Jim Jarmusch follows his groundbreaking Stranger Than Paradise with another rambling, character-driven film with a twisted sense of humor. Set in a seedy New Orleans summer, Down By Law details the meeting of three unlikely convicts and their just as unlikely escape. Zack (Tom Waits) is an out-of-work DJ who is accused of murder when a body is found in the trunk of a stolen car he was hired to drive across town. Jack (John Lurie) is a pimp set up for a fall by a competitor. These two sullen souls are locked in a cell with Roberto (Roberto Benigni), a cheerful Italian immigrant who happens to… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 90%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"The Jim Jarmusch penchant for off-the-wall characters and odd situations is very much in evidence."
‑ Variety Staff, Variety
"The excitement (of Down by Law) comes from the realization that we are seeing a true film maker at work, using film to create a narrative that couldn't exist on the stage or the printed page of a novel."
‑ Vincent Canby, New York Times
"Jim Jarmusch's uneven but stylish comédie noire is an astute mixture of prison picture, road movie and downbeat screwball."
‑ David Parkinson, Radio Times
"Mutual irritation merges into grudging friendship, and the wit manages to be both broad and smart, soulful and silly, subtle and raucous, all at the same time."
‑ Emma Johnston, Total Film
"Stylish hipster comedy that delivers the laughs."
‑ Dennis Schwartz, Ozus' World Movie Reviews
"On the whole I've had more fun in Cleveland."
‑ Pat Graham, Chicago Reader
"A true original that kind of grows on you."
‑ Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
"Down By Law is oddly heart-warming, magnifying moments of unexpected camaraderie between kindred spirits who don't immediately ID each other as such."
‑ Vadim Rizov, Little White Lies
"Perhaps it's not what you expect from a prison movie, but Jim Jarmusch has always adhered to his own personal vision."
‑ Christopher Long, Movie Metropolis
"Every single incident in the film is meaningful."
‑ Tim Brayton, Antagony & Ecstasy
"After the initial establishment of character and atmosphere, the laughs come thick and fast, most notably from the marvellous [Roberto] Benigni."
‑ , Time Out
"Pure pleasure for comedy connoisseurs."
‑ Rita Kempley, Washington Post
"Down by Law is a delight, right down to the unexpected last scene."
‑ Martin Chilton, Daily Telegraph
"[An] odd, funny, strangely mesmerizing three-part comedy."
‑ Jeffrey M. Anderson, Combustible Celluloid
"Director-writer Jarmusch's characters are insignificant antiheroes adrift in an America that is both sad and beautiful."
‑ , TV Guide's Movie Guide
More reviews for Down by Law on Rotten Tomatoes