FRIDAY NIGHT MOVIE REVIEW: On Friday, I saw “Paterson,” which stars Adam Driver (Star Wars: Episode VII- The Force Awakens, Silence), Golshifteh Farahani (Body of Lies, About Elly), Rizwan Manji (The Wolf of Wall Street, Transformers ), Barry Shabaka Henley (The Terminal, Collateral), William Jackson Harper (True Story, All Good Things), and Chasten Harmon (Elementary [TV series], Damnation [TV Movie]). It is written and directed by Jim Jarmusch (Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai, Dead Man). The day-by-day life of Paterson (Driver) unfolds on the screen as he lives out his simple life driving a bus and writing poems.
We all know what is sold on the market for films nowadays. Audiences are captivated by constant action, saucy romance, and jump scares around every corner; at least, that’s what big companies think. Every once in a while, often in Indie releases, a movie comes along that deflects the clichés and presents something of minuteness. Whether it be experimental or a plain observance of life, these flicks live behind their own glass wall, while the viewer is left to figure if they enjoy what they are seeing or not. “Paterson” is the life of one man, named after the title, spanning a week. He rides a bus, writes poems, and puts up with his wife’s obsession with black-and-white crafts. There’s nothing to his life; no explosions, no car chases, and no “getting the girl.” The occasional misdirection of his day may occur, but all in all this is observance of someone’s life, like yours or mine. Is there point to it? You tell me. Poetry is the underlying plot device of this story, as Paterson narrates what he writes throughout his day hoping to complete each poem he thinks of. I’m not a poet, nor do I understand every poem that comes my way. Paterson’s poems consisted of small, forgettable objects or occurrences that questioned our subconscious and instinctive way of thought. I didn’t quite understand what he was getting at, but I got the impression that it made a big deal to the story at hand. When a filmmaker sets out to make a piece of cinema such as this, they typically have the same message in mind: life, whether boring or not, has symbolism and depth behind it. How they express this may put the audience to sleep, unless they are pompous reviewers who think they know an inkling about art, such as myself. I didn’t find the symbolism in this feature like the ones who did. There was no resolution nor conflict besides situational. Paterson didn’t have goals; he wasn’t trying to overcome an obstacle, but rather live quietly in the life he had. What came with that was repetition and dialogue that could be taken as interesting or filler. Did I enjoy what I saw? That’s a tough question. I was surprised out how I didn’t fall asleep, but I think it all had to do with dialogue and acting. For some odd reason, I was engaged for a majority of this picture. Not because there was anything interesting going on, but because I liked the day-by-day concept; the idea that you can take a week of someone’s life and show it to an audience without any means of trying to appeal to a crowd. I was an intruder, and Paterson was the subject of interest. Almost every day of his week I watched him wake up early, kiss his wife, walk to his job, drive a bus all day, come home, and listen to his wife’s latest aspiration or art piece. Nothing changed, but for a few occasional moments as I mentioned before. However, these small shifts of pace didn’t really falter the story at all. It was as if I was watching “Seinfeld,” if the show wasn’t a comedy or involved healthy banter of the “topic of interest.” It’s difficult to judge this film based on merit. The performances were pretty good, with Adam Driver turning in a somber role that I appreciated (far more than Kylo Ren). Most of the supporting characters, besides his wife and barkeeper, didn’t have much to say. The cinematography was good as well as direction. It was all tasteful, in a poetic sense. It paved the way for its calm tone of normalcy, which was a nice step back from the big spoonful of sugar constantly shoved down our throats by Hollywood. From the river of cookie cutter came something different, and “Paterson” certainly presented itself separate from everyone else. It’s artsy, has a heart, and set out to do nothing. Whether you like a concept like that or not depends on what you think about this piece. For me, I found it to be a unique touch to the same-old-same-old. They did something right by keeping me interested throughout its run, and it wasn’t the captivating, tense storyline. It was simply a view of life, led by a simple man with basic desires, never asking for anything more. It’s quite peaceful. FINAL SCORE: 84%= Juicy Popcorn
Here is the trailer: