Jim Jarmusch’s thing is slow pacing. His films generally follow a formulaically snail-like pattern, gradually but very poignantly steering his audience through the cinematic events he produces. This causes for thoughtful films, but not always box office hits that are meant for everyone.
This time around, Jarmusch has stayed to what he knows in Paterson, a rather brilliant film about the mundane. Played by the always excellent Adam Driver, Paterson tells the tale of a bus driver caught up amongst the routine that can become life.
This is a clever film for many reasons. One of which is the relationship between Paterson, the titular character, and his wife. His wife is a complete contrast to driver’s character, she is quite chaotic and messy, painting a different piece of furniture or talking about a different career choice every day. However, everything she paints is black and white. This colour palette choice is a direct metaphorical representation for the very black and white world that Paterson leads. Even in the most chaotic and slightly crazy of events, it is still rather boring and toned down.
This film is incredibly slow, with slow being an understatement. It is almost dormant at times, leaving even the most patient indie-film-watcher a little bored and expectant for a dramatic climax. But no, that is not what Jarmusch’s films are about. His films leave you feeling a kind of way, with Paterson almost creating a moral dilemma within yourself to challenge the ordinary and the routine we may not consciously recognise, but definitely succumb to. This is not a casual film you can bring your mum or a “Netflix and chill” kind of date to, but if you’re willing to spend almost 2 hours of a man writing a poem every day, and take pleasure in the small but meaningful interactions we have in life, then Paterson will reward you in spades.
3.5 out of 5 stars
Paterson is currently screening at Somerville Theatre (UWA) for the Perth International Arts Festival Loterrywest film season
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