By using the Western as a genre ‘in crisis’, Dead Man counteracts the particular version of history it has perpetuated and come to be associated with. In its more traditional form, the Western is a genre that is associated with action, in particular purposive violent action that is rendered meaningful through a narrative context; indeed, a coherent narrative plays a crucial part in justifying the actions of the protagonists as it helps to sustain the particular vision of truth being promulgated within the film. When this logic that enchains generic images together fails or falters, the ‘grand narrative’ that the film upholds is thrown into crisis. Writing with reference to Deleuze’s assessment of the movement-image, Rodowick (2009: 107) notes that ‘these rational connections [between the images] also have an ethical dimension – they are expressive of a will to truth. They express belief in the possibility and coherence of a complete and truthful representation of the world in images.’
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