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Zombie flick The Dead Don't Die kicks off Cannes to mixed reviews

CANNES: With a star-studded cast of flesh-eating undead, US film-maker Jim Jarmusch kicked off Cannes' cinema showcase on Tuesday with a swipe at American society.

The comedy marked the opening salvo of the Cannes Film Festival, where it will compete for the top Palme d'Or prize.

Set in a small town where the inhabitants start succumbing to a zombie apocalypse, The Dead Don't Die takes aim at climate change deniers, US politics and a materialistic, smartphone-addicted world all at once.

Bill Murray, Adam Driver and Chloe Sevigny star as cops fighting off the army of undead, with Selena Gomez and Tilda Swinton also among the cast.

It drew a mixed bag of reviews with some lamenting a sluggish pace despite some spot-on jokes. Laden with witty film references, the movie plays with the artifice of movie-making, with self-aware moments where actors discuss the plot.

Some critics took issue with the self-indulgent moments.

"Jarmusch's movie is in danger of succumbing to a zombie-ism of its own: A narcotic torpor of self-aware coolness," the Guardian's Peter Bradshaw wrote, describing the film as a "droll if directionless riff".

"The problem with the opening film at Cannes is that you expect something really special," said Marta Balaga, a critic at movie news agency Cineuropa. - REUTERS

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