Forrest Whittaker is certainly one of our most talented and underrated actors. This role probably allows him the greatest latitude to express a wide range of emotions since he starred as Charlie Parker in Clint Eastwood's "Bird" or in the gender-bender "The Crying Game." As Ghost Dog, he winds his way through Jim Jarmusch's script with grace & depth.
In adopting the way of the Samurai, GDog latches onto Louie, a mid-level mob boss played by John Tormey. The mix of cultures is a familiar Jarmusch theme that is exceptionally well realized in this DVD. One of the most interesting aspects of the film is GDog's relationship to his French-speaking best friend Raymond. The two often converse, not understanding each other's language but almost mirroring each other's thoughts as the subtitled French indicates. Isaach de Bankole does a great job as the ice cream truck-driving friend. Also very pivotal to the film is the wonderful screen time given to Camille Winbush as Pearline, a child who GDog loans a copy of Rashamon to. There is a great rapport between the two.
The Italian crime bosses are ironically played for laughs with Cliff Gorman's inept mob boss front & center. As Vargo, Henry Silva who has such a great ethnic look and has played in "Dick Tracy" & "Oceans 11" does a great job of being hard-edged and incompetent. His daughter Louise is a witness to one of GDog's early executions and eventually orders Louie to perform the hit on our star.
With the aspects of carrier pigeons and a guy building an arc on a city rooftop, we see numerous interesting cultural aspects and humor combined in the drama. This is an interesting film melding Asian culture with modern crime, kind of a Hip-Hop version of Kung Fu. Whittaker keeps us glued to the screen for a most interesting performance. Enjoy!