Ghost Dog (Forest Whitaker) lives alone - except for his friendly homing pigeons - on a rooftop in New York, a self made, modern Samurai warrior who has attached himself to a master in the form of a middle ranking gangster (John Tormey) who once saved his life in an alley brawl. His pigeons deliver the master's commands - usually instructions to kill a rival. Ghost Dog lives strictly by the Samurai code, even when his life is in danger, such as when Mr Vargo (Henry Silva ) demands Ghost Dog's execution with the help of Ghost Dog's own master.
 

4
An ultra cool film by one of America's most idiosyncratic marginal filmmakers.

Ghost Dog is a gunman who works exclusively for Italian mobster Louie, (John Tormey) Louie had saved his life when he was a teenager. The Ghost lives by the code of the samurai, the Japanese warrior of old who was loyal to just one master; he lives austerely in a rooftop shack, and communicates by carrier pigeon. But his 13th hit for Louie goes wrong, and now Ghost Dog finds himself hunted down.

Jim Jarmusch meets Tarantino in Ghost Dog, an ultra cool film by one of America's most idiosyncratic marginal filmmakers. The plot isn't what's interesting here; the film's qualities are in the off the wall details. The Ghost's best friend is a French-speaking ice cream vendor with whom he can't communicate, at least in words; the daughter of an Italian gangster reads Rashomon; the gangsters watch violent cartoons which are miraculously re-enacted in real life; bear hunters get what they deserve; a throbbing soundtrack of music by Rza enlivens it all. Forest Whitaker's blank page performance is just right for the film, and Robby Muller's striking photography is also crucial to the success of Jarmusch's very singular vision. It's true that he does tend to fetishise those big guns and their phallic silencers, but he's not alone in that. Ghost Dog is a uniquely different take on the gangster flick.