Isaach De Bankolť
Paz de la Huerta
The movie follows a man whose name we never learn, as he goes on a mission the purpose of which weíre never quite sure, even in the end. If youíre excited about a film that pairs Tilda Swinton with John Hurt, Gael Garcia Bernal and Bill Murray, taper your expectations, as they each appear in only one scene, as the strangers our stranger meets on his tedious journey. Each of them sit down with him to share their favorite things (Jarmuschís favorite things) over a cup of espresso.
This continues on in an annoyingly repetitive pattern for the entire course of the film, which left me with a puzzled look on my face throughout. In the first 20 minutes of this flick, there are probably less than 20 lines of dialogue. We see our hero practice the same form of meditation literally 8-10 times. Entire scenes consist of him sitting on a bed, or walking down a hall, or up a flight of stairs. Over and over again. And then later, again.
I do want to mention that I am no schmo when it comes to film analysis. I have a degree in film criticism from an esteemed university, Iíve studied it for over a decade, and I take pride in my ability to analyze a film objectively. But when a film lacks any kind of story, and fails to keep me even remotely entertained, then I donít really care how ďdeepĒ the thing is. Itís already a failure in my book.
And when a filmmaker creates a movie for himself rather than for audiences, heís already on the wrong track, and thatís my problem with Jarmusch. Because Iím not inside his head, I canít even begin to comprehend what he is talking about here, and since he doesn't seem to particularly care what I think, the feeling on my end is mutual. That said, maybe youíll have better luck cracking the code here.
If there are any positives to be taken from the film, itís the visuals. Jarmusch has a knack for composing extremely simple, yet oddly beautiful shots, and with ace DP Christopher Doyle behind the camera, the filmís look is sparse, but hypnotic and crisp. And thatís a good thing, since dialogue and thrills here come [very] few and far between.
Behind Jim Jarmusch (51:31) - This is almost as strange as the movie, and Iím not just talking about Jim Jarmusch- heís actually stranger than the movie. This documentary, if you could call it that, mozies along like the film, with pretty much no narrative thread and Jarmusch eschewing upon us his deep philosophical wisdom. If youíre a fan of Jarmusch, youíll love this. If you were completely turned off by the movie, dont even breathe on this thing.