"[My mother] ...used to say that [America] ...is a big melting pot, because when you bring it to boil, all the scum rises to the top."
- Bobbie (BILLIE NEAL)
Sight and Sound - 03/01/1987
"...A victory of form over content..."
New York Times - 09/19/1986
"...Jarmusch is an American original....[DOWN BY LAW is] an unqualified delight..."
New York Times - 12/28/1986
Included in the New York Times "10 BEST FILMS OF 1986"
Los Angeles Times - 10/03/1986
"...An inkily comic dream of a movie....Few contemporary directors use unoccupied space and wordless glances with the comic wallop of Jarmusch; he's perfected a kind of formalist shaggy-dog style utterly his own..."
Premiere - 06/01/2004
"LAW is Jarmusch's most satisfying work, using dry humor, great music, and especially the black-and-white cinematography..."
Entertainment Weekly - 07/20/2012
"Waits and Lurie, who also provide the film's jazzy soundtrack, are two of the heppest cats on the planet....[Benigni] gives this early indie its kick..." -- Grade: A
Jim Jarmusch's quirky follow-up to his groundbreaking STRANGER THAN PARADISE is a comic fable about finding the American dream in the most unlikely of places. After being thrown out of the house by his girlfriend, Zack (Tom Waits), an out-of-work DJ, takes a job driving a stolen car with a body in the trunk across the state line. He is arrested and put into a cell with Jack (John Lurie), a pimp who's been busted for recruiting a minor. The trio is completed when Roberto (the always hysterical Roberto Benigni), an Italian tourist who is arrested for killing a man while playing cards, joins them in their cell. Eventually, Roberto succeeds in convincing Zack and Jack to break out of jail with him. But when they do, the escapees find themselves lost in the bayou with no salvation in sight. It isn't until they land at the small home of an Italian immigrant (Nicoletta Braschi) that Zack, Jack, and Roberto learn to appreciate the beauty the world has to offer. Robby Muller's gorgeously contrasted black-and-white photography adds an artistic dimension to Jarmusch's film, which only heightens the performances by the three leads.