Things to Do in Denver When You’re Dead (1995)


You see, Jimmy (Andy Garcia) is, as his nickname suggests, a good soul, a true poet among the losers, a soft-spoken bard among the barbarians, and probably because of that trait, he decided to withdraw from the gangster by sneaking into the legal. Namely, he found a job in a company that records the thoughts and advice of the moribund, and then, when they leave this dimension of reality, they let them go to their loved ones in moments of doubt or morale, as a kind of encouragement from the other side. Dagni (Gabrielle Anwar), a girl he draws into his world with beautiful words and Latin charm, and with whom he falls head over heels, falls in love with him as well.

But not all his acquaintances are as honest as he is – the Man with the Plan, a quadriplegic with a troubled son, but an important nose in business,to be the mastermind of the operation that must be carried out and does not regret returning money to outlaws because the work is delicate and requires a cool head at the head of the column. The saint changes his mind at first because he liked the righteous life, but in the end he accepts and gathers a handful of former comrades-in-arms and old friends who will help him implement the plan. Unfortunately, it turns out that the biggest mistake he made in his life was that when assembling the team he was guided more by beautiful memories and friendly connections, than by the desire to do the job properly and efficiently, which will cause certain consequences for each team member.

If I describe the Saint’s partners or enemies in detail, I could spoil your pleasure. Therefore, I will try not to go into details and mention that this clumsy team consists of a leprous cinematographer, a covert profile player with poor anger control, one family man and one African-American. The cast is great, so much so that it’s just not clear why this movie didn’t get more viewers.

First, Andy Garcia is a genius as an ex-mobster and dreamer Jimmy, it’s a pity that we don’t see that man more often and in important projects. Treat Williams plays a nervous ex-convict who, as a precaution, boxes former human bodies in the morgue to avoid doing so to living people. An interesting way of compensation, you will agree. Furthermore, this film helps us learn that Christopher Walken does not have to stand on his own two feet to look evil, that he is chained to a chair and moves by blowing into a tube does not affect his power at all, moreover, he succeeded to act more threatening and evil than usual, and that says a lot about the degree of his prowess and acting. Finally, there is Steve Buscemi as the laconic Lord Pssst, about whom I will tell you absolutely nothing.

The script? The characters have internal slang, some dialogues are very entertaining, full of life, but they are interrupted by occasional meaningless remarks and unnecessary swearing, so the impressions are mixed, with mostly favorable ratings, though. It’s fresh, reminiscent of some classic noir-gangster works, and it especially touched my heart because some sentences are so unrealistic and have a minimum of probability that someone will say them in a live conversation, that it, in fact, means that the film takes place. in some special, fictional universe, much more stylized than ours, and that’s a very good thing.

Things to Do in Denver When You’re Dead is aware of its omissions and scattered stumbling blocks, and is not ashamed to express and underline it through the characters ’scripts and dialogues. This, of course, does not mean that the mentioned omissions do not exist, but that the screenwriter Scott Rosenberg tried to mitigate their effect. As far as I’m concerned, he succeeded. The characters are interesting (true, some are two-dimensional and insufficiently elaborated), the script, although dotted with fellers, has that Tarantino-Ricci flavor, while the team of actors is made up of favorite and quite capable faces. It’s not a classic, but it passes.