Most movies aim for the dramatic, the out of the ordinary, the attention-grabbing – formally, thematically or plot-wise; Jim Jarmusch, forever a chronicler of the deadpan and understated, crafted something remarkably antithetical to that with the magnificent Paterson – and that, in itself, made this such a radically brilliant work. The film is a beautifully low-key and delightfully heartwarming portrayal of the possibility of poetry and profundity within the mundane and the monotony of uneventful existence. Gently peppered with straight-faced humour and pleasant irony, evoking rarely more than a chuckle here and a guffow there – the kind that Jarmusch’s cinema is most memorably associated with – the movie chronicled a week in the life of an unassuming man residing in the titular city in New Jersey. Paterson (Adam Driver), bearing the name of the city he belongs to, is a soft-spoken and tender-hearted bus driver by the day, an observant closet poet who pens intensely personal verses between work; an admirer of the book-length poem by William Carlos William named after the city; he’s happily married to the freewheeling and naturally joyous Laura (Golshifteh Farahani); and he lives a life of happy routine which begins early in the morning, involves travelling around the city while listening to converstions of travelers (from “Hurricane” Carter to Italian anarchists) with amused expressions, pampering his wife’s quirks, walking his dog in the evenings and having a customary beer at the bar post that while having rambling chats with its chess-loving owner (Barry Shabaka Henley). Driver’s extraordinary turn as the gangly, modest, straight-faced protagonist in sync with his quotidian existence, along with the strangely affecting poems, filled the film with warmth, melancholy and a touch of absurdity.
Director: Jim Jarmusch
Genre: Comedy Drama/Americana/Slice of Life