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  • Writer's pictureJames Rutherford

'Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai': The Spirited Chronicles of a Modern-Day Samurai Hitman

Movie poster for the film Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai starring Forrest Whitaker and John Tormey

“Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai” (1999) is the story of a hitman (Forrest Whitaker) who lives according to the principles of the Samurai in modern-day (1990’s) New York City, while remaining beholden to a mafia boss, Louie (John Tormey), who saved his life many years earlier.

As the story unfolds, Ghost Dog draws an assignment from Louie to kill a member of a rival mafia clan, only to find himself under siege from Louie’s own henchman once it becomes clear that he must be eliminated in order to avoid a full-on mafia war.

Written and directed by indie stalwart Jim Jarmusch (Dead Man, Only Lovers Left Alive), "Ghost Dog" brandishes Jarmush’s unique blend of self-seriousness intertwined with moments of whimsy and wry humor--delivering an enjoyable parable about one modern warrior’s path toward redemption and transcendence.

Pasting together components of Samurai mythology, mafia tradition and hip-hop culture, Jarmusch has created something altogether new and exciting with this one. A one-of-a-kind cinematic collage of inspirations and influences not to be overlooked.


View the trailer:


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