Cinema Review: Paterson

Posted November 24, 2016 in Cinema Reviews

BIMM may-june 22 – Desktop


Director: Jim Jarmusch

Talent: Adam Driver, Golshifteh Farahani, Barry Shabaka Henley, Cliff Smith

Released: 25th November

In the city of Paterson, New Jersey, there lives a man also named Paterson — Adam Driver in a lovely, low-key performance — who drives a bus for a living and writes poetry in his spare time. Every day, after work, he has dinner with his wife Laura (Farahani) and then takes their dog out for a walk, stopping at the local watering hole for just the one beer before returning home and calling it a night. His is a life of contentment and routine, not exactly the stuff of great drama, but director Jim Jarmusch has used it to produce a vibrant film, endearing, funny and completely engrossing.

The story takes place over the course of a week, a week in which not a lot happens. Paterson is quiet and unassuming, fading into the background for much of the time, allowing eavesdropped conversations and the city sights to come to the fore and later resurface in his poetry, which in the film’s single stylistic flourish appears on screen as he writes it down. Gradually, as the week goes on, we begin to understand how not only Paterson but also Jarmusch and any other artist see the world, taking in the dull and ordinary and transforming it through their art.

Paterson is not a perfect film — Farahani is great in what is nonetheless a slightly underwritten role, and eventually a rather predictable crisis occurs and is then resolved perhaps a little too neatly — but it is charming and irresistible and profound. It is also a surprising film, both a summation of Jarmusch’s career and absolutely unique in its optimism, coming as it does from a director whose characters have so often drifted in an existential fog.

‘You know, it’s funny,’ Eddie says in 1984’s Stranger Than Paradise. ‘You come to someplace new, and everything looks just the same.’

Paterson would disagree.

Words – Felipe Deakin


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