Sunday, June 4, 2017

Paterson (2016)

Director: Jim Jarmusch
Writer: Jim Jarmusch
DOP: Frederick Elmes
Cast: Adam Driver, Golshifiteh Farahani, Barry Shabaka Henley

A quiet observation of the triumphs and defeats of daily life, along with the poetry evident in its smallest of details.

So basically Adam Driver plays a bus driver named Paterson in the film Paterson which is set in Paterson, New Jersey. Whew! It is a week in his life beginning Monday and we see that he is living a mundane existence along with his wife of Iranian descent. He gets up every morning at around 6.10 AM, eats breakfast alone, walks to work and in between during his work he writes poetry in his secret notebook, eats lunch on bench facing a waterfall, gets back from work, picks mail, fixes mail-box, greeted by his wife as she tells him either that she will be in the cup-cake business or how she has ordered a guitar and plans to be a famous country-singer, takes their dog, Marvin, for a walk, have a beer at his usual place during their walk, gets back and sleep. Rinse...Repeat... One would think that this would make for a very boring film but it is anything but.

I was struggling to get some sleep at 4 AM and decided to go for it after a cup of coffee. Not really the best way to start a Jim Jarmusch film, or any film for that matter, but two hours just flew by and I was totally riveted by it. Am not really into poetry and is not the best person to judge the quality of the poems he is writing. I really didn't think much of it for what its worth. He is being encouraged by his wife to make a copy of it as a backup. The dog is like a third member of the family and is quite the villain as he is bored with his life in this home. Most of the film is Paterson listening to other people's words and conversations and you feel he is conflicted about whether he is actually a credible poet. There is one encounter with a little girl and as she reads a poem written by her, which is very obviously better than what he has managed so far, his insecurity is heightened and when she quips that it was interesting to meet a bus driver who knows about Emily Dickinson, it doesn't really help. His life is so mundane that the breakdown of his bus on a Friday is like 9/11 for him. But the film celebrates his incident free life without bells and whistles and is subtly funny throughout.


Water falls from the bright air
It falls like hair
Falling across a young girl’s shoulders
Water falls
Making pools in the asphalt
Dirty mirrors with clouds and buildings inside
It falls on the roof of my house
Falls on my mother and on my hair
Most people call it rain


It is a great watch with an excellent central performance from Adam Driver, who was also in Noah Baumbach's 'While we're young' as a pretend hipster. There is also this cameo appearance from the two leading kids from 'Moonrise Kingdom'. With 'Limits of Control, 'Only Lovers Left Alive' and 'Paterson', I think Jim Jarmusch is in the strongest phase of his career and he is aging like fine wine. His band 'SQURL' did the score for this film as well. One can say that there is a narrative resolution at the end of it after his meeting with the Japanese guy and I found the concluding poem to be good and kind of explains the film.

Rating: 4.5/5