Paterson is a bus driver in Paterson, New Jersey. In between the overheard chatter of his passengers, the ambitious dreams of his girlfriend and the solace of his late night drop-ins to the local bar, Paterson is an unassuming poet. Scribbling down lines of verse in the same notebook he has been using for years, he details the minutiae of the sleepy lives around him. At the gentle insistence of his girlfriend, he promises to make a photocopy by the weekend. However before that happens, both fate and inspiration will visit him in a variety of guises, in this gentle, probing drama.

In his latest film, Jim Jarmush (‘Stranger than Paradise’, ‘Down By Law’, ‘Ghost Dog’ amongst others) casts his most languid eye yet over a tale of a poet without prospects or ambition. Caught in a permanently regimented lifestyle, Paterson is both trapped and inspired by the convenient stasis of his life. From the adoration of his scatter-brained-yet-endearing girlfriend, to the morose, love-sick, wearisome characters that orbit his small world, all of them feed his verse in a series of repetitive vignettes, that gently tug at a talent yet to happen.

...Driver gives a masterclass in understatement that perfectly matches Jarmusch’s cinematic intent.

In the central role, Adam Driver consolidates his strong performance in ‘Logan Lucky’ with another beautifully measured depiction of small town America. Shrugging-off his way through lines with a beautifully measured yet unassuming tone of delivery, Driver gives a masterclass in understatement that perfectly matches Jarmusch’s cinematic intent. Never self-conscious or contrived, he’s ably cushioned by Golshifteh Farahani’s gentle mania as his wife Laura and her scathingly-jowled dog, Marvin.

As with many other Jarmusch films, the beauty here is in the details and weightless way in which he moves both his camera and cast around the strands of his onscreen characters. This time without the screamingly-cool eye of early cinematographer Robby Muller, Jarmusch’s ‘Paterson’ is a slower tale whose effortless delivery of details will find appreciation with many fans of Coen Brothers’ later movies – such as ‘Inside Llewyn Davis’.

Circular in nature and deliberately poetic in its pacing, ‘Paterson’ doesn’t depend on melodrama to draw you in your interest. Its eye for detail and nuanced emphasis is enough in an exquisitely, relaxing ride towards a gently-made point.


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