Thursday, February 2, 2017

[Review] Paterson

Jim Jarmusch's Paterson is a slow but insightful, easygoing yet thought-provoking ride about a dude named Paterson who lives in Paterson.

By sheer nominal coincidence, Adam Driver plays a quiet bus driver, observing the city and listening to the conversations of every day people that step through his automatic doors. Paterson (that's his name) is also a notebook-carrying poet, jotting down material that turns mundane subjects into something of introspective beauty. His wife Laura (played by Golshifteh Farahani) encourages him to show his work to the world, but he's in no hurry.

Much like Paterson's poetry, the film itself very much cruises along in the same listless yet lyrical way. The nicely shot picture places focus on the little details and routines of a '9-5', everything before and after, and life in general. It's not a premise that exactly screams excitement, and it's type of stuff that might cause casual filmgoers to fall asleep within the first 10 minutes, but there's still something genuinely charming about it. It feels communal. Comforting, even. And it's intently littered with cultural references from Iggy Pop to Emily Dickinson, Abbott & Costello to Fetty Wap.

In a pleasant surprise, hip-hop vet Method Man makes an appearance in a dingy laundromat as an aspiring rapper (ironic). Another meta-wink comes when a couple of college students hop on the bus for some idealistic banter, and it took me a moment to realize it, but it was the two leads from Wes Anderson's Moonrise Kingdom. Then of course there's Adam Driver's nuanced performance as a simple man with deep thoughts, continuing to prove he's one of the best actors in the game, whether it's on a blockbuster or indie scale. But the real star might be Paterson's bulldog named Marvin. The chunky fella loves scoffing while he basks on the living room chair.

With all that said, as it arrived toward its two-hour runtime, even I began checking my own watch and thinking of tasks on my schedule that I needed to do. So the film didn't completely floor me, but it did make me wonder how many city bus drivers out there also are Patersons.

( 7/10 )

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