Down by Law (1986)

Feature Film | Comedy | USA/West Ger | English & Italian | 1h47m
Dir: Jim Jarmusch | Scr: Jim Jarmusch | Ph: Robby Müller | Prod: Alan Kleinberg | Mus: John Lurie | Ed: Melody London | PD: Janet Densmore | Snd: John Auerbach | Cast: Tom Waits, John Lurie, Roberto Benigni, Nicoletta Braschi, Ellen Barkin, Billie Neal, Rockets Redglare, Vernel Bagneris

In Jarmusch’s hugely entertaining prison break comedy, a pimp and a radio DJ, both set up for crimes that they did not commit, find their personalities clashing when they wind up in a New Orleans jail cell together. However, the arrival a terminally upbeat but decidedly unfortunate Italian murderer helps to diffuse things somewhat, and eventually leads to their escaping into the Louisiana bayous towards a decidedly uncertain future. Waits and Lurie do well as the straight men to Benigni’s hilarious clowning, whilst the ever wonderful Müller’s breath-taking photography elegantly illuminates Jarmusch’s remarkable mise en scène. Wonderful.