It took a few viewings, but now I understand that “Dead Man” (1995) is a palindrome in structure. The movie begins with the protagonist William Blake riding the train in, and ends with him riding a canoe out. Begins with him stumbling through the muddy streets of Machine with the butchers, hunters, mothers, morticians and steel signs, and ends with him stumbling through the muddy village of the boat people with the butchers, hunters, mothers, morticians and wooden totems.
I’m still trying to piece together the correlations between the two ends, marking events on the front half and matching them with events from the back half. The plot is episodic in nature, so it’ll take some mulling over in my subconscious to assemble the order and draw parallels.
If you’ve not seen “Dead Man”, you should see it. It’s slow, poetic, and through its sparse use of dialog tells a serious story. A man who’s had a rotten run of luck attempts to make a fresh start. Instead, he reaches the end of the line and through a rotten run of luck reaches the end of the line and makes a fresh start to the next spirit plane.
“The eagle never lost so much time as when he submitted to learn from the crow.”