Paterson – BFI LFF – Review

A bus driver and poet is the latest of unassuming character portrayals from American auteur Jim Jarmusch. Presented over the course of a week, it portrays the life of Paterson, (Adam Driver), a bus driver in the area of Paterson in New Jersey, yet talented poet whose work have not gone beyond his secret notebook. He lives with his fairly hippy partner Laura, (Golshifteh Farahani), who has an obsession for decorating everything black and white and baking cup cakes, along with their pet British Bulldog.

Very light and peppered with nice moments of humour, Paterson is a slice of life piece that is without plot and devoid of tension and conflict, which perhaps serve to represent normal suburban life, and Paterson the bus driver as an everyday likeable guy, but it’s challenging viewing. Jarmusch throws in odd quirks, a constant theme of duality  that only serve irony yet lack any significance. It’s a likeable film and the first time I’ve seen Adam Driver be endearing. There’s a bit of Twin Peaks here and there with sound design suggestive that something sinister or something lying beneath and some curious editing. But like it’s use of duality it again musters to only being a quirk. There’s a minor triumph in creating a film that is absent of a lot of vital storytelling ingredients, yet it handicaps it’s enjoyment and will test patience for many. Not essential viewing but will probably please a lot of Jarmusch fans.

★★★

Chris Aitken

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