I haven’t checked out many of Jim Jarmusch’s work but I liked what I have seen so far. Coffee and Cigarettes especially, was an entertaining series of memorable segments featuring an ensemble cast. I hadn’t researched much about Paterson outside of seeing the trailer in theaters. My preconception was that this film would be the perfect film for Adam Driver to showcase his acting talents and I think this prediction was proved right. Its another welcome addition to 2016 but I think it may be divisive among moviegoers.
The film is about a bus driver named Paterson, who also shares a name with Paterson, New Jersey. He is a very structured man who sticks to his daily routines. He also is a talented poet, much of his work in poetry is sprawled physically on screen. My first impression is that this film wouldn’t be for everyone and I stand by that thought. The film may feel slow inconsequential, and repetitive at many times. I’m certain that is exactly what Jarmusch was going for though. Paterson is a man who is set on a mundane, familiar schedule; a small change in routine or a small change in his world can through him off course. And it happens.
I think Adam Driver was great. He plays the role of Paterson with a silent conviction and you can tell he’s a different almost simple man. Paterson is observant and expressive. He’s attentive to many common and specific things such as the conversations on his bus route, or even a box of matches. His wife Laura is his driving force and really influences him to pursue his passion. The relationship is hardly chaotic and really works. One could argue that there isn’t much going on but I think there is in Paterson’s world around him. Its an absorbing watch to see his interactions with the world and how they fuel his poetry.
There aren’t many issues to resolve in the film. Jarmusch goes to a familiar place where he sacrifices plot progression for a character study. I think its an enjoyable film. Its subtlety in humor really works and nothing really feels overstated. Paterson is a daring independent film that is not afraid to express itself in an uncharacteristic way. Jarmusch is experimental yet again but has a story to tell no matter how commonplace it seems to be.