It’s been almost ten years since I last watched this movie. As I said earlier in the week on twitter, I remember liking it, but not why. Having rewatched it now, I am in a better position to articulate what I liked about it.
The main thing to like is Forest Whitaker’s performance in the title role. At the time, an unknown actor, he’s gone on to win awards (for films I haven’t seen) – you can see why in his understated portrayal of this loner hitman who lives his life by the code of the samurai.
The film has some great cliched portrayal of aging Mafia men – somewhere between the Sopranos and Casino, and moments of David Lynch like surrealism in the plot twists and turns.
It’s a violent film, with course language, but it’s not an action film: it’s more arthouse than that. Among my favourite scenes are the ones with the Haitian ice cream vendor who speaks only French, but calls Ghost Dog (who speaks only English) his best friend.
It’s a multi-layered film that repays a second viewing.