Review: Paterson (AFI FEST 2016)

Paterson (AFI FEST 2016)
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PLOT: A day in the life examination of a poetry writing bus driver and the people in his life.

REVIEW: There are seven days in a week, and many of us do the exact same routine week by week, month by month and year by year. And that is, in a way, the story of the new film by Jim Jarmusch. PATERSON is the name of the main character, and the name of the town he resides, and it all falls together beautifully. The writer and director manages to create a very understated work of poetry that is equal parts touching and humorous, this flick has a big old positive heart that makes you want to sit down with a pen and paper and write about the world around you. With shades of INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS - but probably a more hopeful take - we see the life of a bus driver named Paterson and the sweetly romantic world that surrounds him.

Paterson (Adam Driver) lives a very predictable life. He wakes up, goes to drive a bus and goes home to find his wife doing some strange and creative project. He goes to sleep. He wakes up. And he does it all over again. The only thing that changes are the conversations he overhears on the bus, and his wife Laura’s (Golshifteh Farahani) charmingly naive ambitions. At one moment she is a the queen of making cupcakes and another day she orders a guitar on line with big plans of playing country music. This is a simple story that manages to keep the monotony of Paterson’s life fresh and interesting.

As talented as Jarmusch is, it has to be said that Adam Driver is really perfect here. The actor conveys so much heart and soul as he drifts through his character's life, writing poetry and learning about those around him. Driver brings a sweetness to the role; it is impossible to not love the guy. Even when Laura decides to get creative with a bizarre concoction for dinner, Paterson doesn’t burst her excitable bubble. This is a man who for better or worse, is satisfied with his very basic life. Considering he is in every scene, the success truly depends on how charismatic he can be playing a guy who writes poetry and drives a bus. This is a terrific performance, and frankly it needed to be for the film to work.

At first impression, the idea of watching a bus driver for a week sounds terribly boring. Aside from Driver’s fine work, it is Jarmusch style that also keeps viewers involved. And of course, the city of Paterson, New Jersey gives the film a ton of character. The way Jarmusch and cinematographer Frederick Elmes capture the location in such a magnetic way is quite stunning. From the simplicity of a modest home where Paterson and Laura live to gorgeous landscape where Paterson eats his lunch, it all has real beauty. The city plays an important role, and the filmmakers uses it to his advantage.

Another key factor to the film’s success is the thoughtful script by Jarmusch. This could have been a bore to watch, simply a man caught in the same routine every single day. However, there are moments where his life takes a slight detour. This includes a couple of seemingly minor situations, but somehow they work especially well, even if you aren’t fully sure how they fit into the big picture. In fact, much of the appeal here is just going along for the ride. There is a sequence near the end that possesses such quiet heartbreak, that it ends up being something damn near unsettling - at least in terms on this being such a personal journey.

Together, Jim Jarmusch and Adam Driver have brought us a charmingly thoughtful feature. While the thought of watching a bus driver falling into his routine for a week may not sound terribly involving, the filmmaker manages to create something far more affecting than it may appear. The supporting cast are all quite good, but this is Driver’s show and he is fantastic. PATERSON is a warm and witty, an absolute delight that will please fans of this accomplished director.


Source: JoBlo.com



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