Saturday, 10 September 2016

PATERSON - Review By Greg Klymkiw - TIFF 2016 - Dullsville meets Poetry in New Jersey.

Impossibly gorgeous Iranian women who marry
bus drivers in Paterson, New Jersey NEVER have to work.

Paterson (2016)
Dir. Jim Jarmusch
Starring: Adam Driver, Golshifteh Farahani, Barry Shabaka Henley,
Cliff Smith, Chasten Harmon, William Jackson Harper, Masatoshi Nagase

Review By Greg Klymkiw

Look, I love Jim Jarmusch as much as the next guy, but the fact remains that he really hasn't made anything worth seeing in a long time. That said, I have no intention of ever giving up on him. After all, the man gave us Stranger Than Paradise, Down By Law and Mystery Train - all terrific pictures. His new film Paterson, is however, so utterly, mind-numbingly mediocre that it's really tempting to never see another one of his movies ever again.

Here's the deal: Paterson (Adam Driver) is a bus driver in Paterson, New Jersey (birthplace of the immortal Lou Costello). He lives in a modest post-war bungalow with his impossibly gorgeous Iranian wife Laura (Golshifteh Farahani) and their super-cute, mega-wrinkly bulldog. Now, maybe it's just me, but do New Jersey bus drivers make enough money to own a bungalow (albeit modest) and support impossibly gorgeous Iranian wives who appear to do nothing for a living? Well, maybe they can. After all, this couple appears to not do much of anything.

Every single day is pretty much the same. (Jarmusch used to be a master of making "sameness" both entertaining and thought-provoking, but in this movie, it's anything but. It is 118 minutes long. That's what it is.)

Bus drivers in Paterson, New Jersey can support impossibly
gorgeous Iranian wives who don't work. They can also be
poets like fellow Patersonians Ginsberg & Williams.
Starting with the title card "Monday" and cycling through an entire week, this is what happens - each day.

Paterson wakes up and engages in his morning ablutions.

Sometimes he talks to his impossibly gorgeous Iranian wife, or at least nuzzles her.

Paterson walks to work.

Paterson sits in his bus, waiting for his shift to begin. He writes (supposedly good) poetry in his notebook. His boss comes by and talks about his personal problems.

On the road, he listens in on one key conversation between a couple of passengers.

At lunch, he eats and writes more (supposedly good) poetry in his notebook. (This makes sense, I suppose, since Paterson, New Jersey was the home and/or birthplace of many notable writers including Allen Ginsberg and William Carlos Williams. Pretty cosmic, if you ask me.)

When he returns home, he discovers his impossibly gorgeous Iranian wife Laura working on some ornate, hand-crafted interior design element for their modest post-war bungalow. They talk and nuzzle. Their conversation usually consists of his impossibly gorgeous Iranian wife Laura reminding him that he absolutely must photocopy his poetry notebook and/or the baked goods she is planning to prepare for a weekend market. The conversations are often punctuated with shots of their super-cute, mega-wrinkly bulldog.

After dinner, Paterson leaves his impossibly gorgeous Iranian wife Laura home alone and takes their super-cute, mega-wrinkly bulldog on a walk. He stops at a local bar, ties the dog outside, goes in, orders a beer, talks to some fellow patrons and always has a conversation with the bartender.

That, folks, is all there is. Day in. Day out. There is no conflict, save for a subplot involving a bar patron and the woman he loves (but who refuses to love him back).

Impossibly gorgeous Iranian nuzzles loving bus driver.
On the weekend, Paterson and his impossibly gorgeous Iranian wife Laura go to a movie. Upon their return they discover that the super-cute, mega-wrinkly bulldog has destroyed the (not-yet-photocopied) notebook of (supposedly good) poetry. His impossibly gorgeous Iranian wife Laura feels badly, but still manages to chide him for not photocopying his notebook.

On Sunday, Paterson is depressed. He sits on a park bench. An older Japanese man sits next to him. For some reason, he knows Paterson is a poet. He gifts him a brand new empty notebook.

Gee, I wonder what Paterson is going to do next? Perhaps he'll write some (supposedly good) poetry. Perhaps we'll find out if Jarmusch ever bothers to make a supposedly good sequel to this supposedly good movie.


Paterson is a Special Presentation at TIFF 2016. It is a Mongrel Media release.