Down by Law
Down by Law

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- 78/100 based on 41,330 votes

Two innocent people are arrested. An interesting third person, with broken English, joins them in their cell. On his idea, they decide to escape from the prison. Their journey is the rest of the movie.... (Full plot summary below)

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Full Plot Details

Two innocent people are arrested. An interesting third person, with broken English, joins them in their cell. On his idea, they decide to escape from the prison. Their journey is the rest of the movie.

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Movie Reviews

Antagony & Ecstasy - 10/10 by Tim BraytonEvery single incident in the film is meaningful.
Time Out London - 10/10 by Tom HuddlestonThe claustrophobic setting and semi-improvised tone might suggest something closer to sitcom than cinema (had Jarmusch seen Porridge?), but Robby Müller’s stately monochrome photography single-handedly lifts it into the realm of Proper Art. It’s a sad and beautiful world indeed.
Variety - 10/10 by Variety StaffThe Jim Jarmusch penchant for off-the-wall characters and odd situations is very much in evidence.
Total Film - 10/10 by Emma JohnstonMutual 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.
Daily Telegraph (UK) - 10/10 by Martin ChiltonDown by Law is a delight, right down to the unexpected last scene.
Los Angeles Times - 9/10 by Sheila BensonThe humor of Down by Law is marginally easier to describe than Stranger Than Paradise, but only because, by now, we have a small idea of Jarmusch's style. It's still a kind of humor that evaporates as you try to explain it. Also eluding description is the beauty, the street poetry and the precision of the images caught by Jarmusch and his cameraman, the great Robby Muller, whose black-and-white photography illuminated the early films of Wim Wenders. They have created a dream New Orleans, more succinct and more haunting than the city itself, and Lurie has set it to music.
The Guardian - 9/10 by Peter BradshawDown By Law is effortlessly laidback, superbly elegant. Jarmusch made it look easy.
Slant Magazine - 9/10 by Joseph Jon LanthierDivorcing New Orleans from its stereotypes (there’s no ham-fisted Creole dialogue, no digs at the indigenous cuisine), the filmmaker imagines the boiling, boggy city as a purgatory for lost souls, spotted with cinephiliac mold.
The New York Times - 9/10 by Vincent CanbyThe excitement of Down by Law comes not from what it's about. Reduced to its plot, it is very slight. But the plot isn't the point. The excitement 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.
The Globe and Mail (Toronto) - 9/10 by Jay ScottIn many ways, Down by Law feels like the quintessential Jarmusch. It's a perfect distillation of that strange whimsy and resolutely deadpan humour - harvested via the director's life-long passion for world cinema.

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