By Adam Ray Palmer
Today’s review is of Jim Jarmusch’s comedy-drama Paterson that is screening all week at Leicester’s Phoenix cinema.
The film stars Adam Driver as the titular character Paterson with a supporting cast of Golshifteh Farahani, Chasten Harmon and William Jackson Harper.
This is Jim’s second film this year after his Iggy Pop documentary Gimme Shelter.
Paterson follows a bus driver turned poet in Adam Driver’s Paterson, aptly named, who lives a routine life alongside his wife Laura (Golshifteh Farahani). Paterson (the film) tells the story of a standard week in the life of Paterson (the man). He goes about his bus driving job on a day-to-day basis as he scribbles down poems in his notebook.
What drawn me to the film is the central protagonist. In general terms, there’s a charm to Adam Driver in the way he speaks and holds the screen. His presence is strong in Paterson but that’s all the film can really boast here. He’s utilised well but the script is weak on the whole. In the overly long run time, we see very little going actually happening.
When you have a top talent like Adam Driver on board, you should give him a character to thrive off. I can see an Eddie Redmayne type actor suited to this role, whereas Driver has an edge to him that doesn’t sit well with Paterson (the man). However; Adam’s timing is very good in the more comedic scenes, for instance; a dinner table scene makes you chuckle when he has to eat his wife’s ridiculously pretentious food.
Paterson is such a frustrating film. It reminds me of Maggie’s Plan. Both films have great casting, but the narrative is delivered sloppily. Paterson is very much a luke-warm film that never really gets out of first gear. I completely get that the audience must understand that Paterson’s (the man) way of life is stuck in a mundane routine and that his poetry is the only interest in his life, but it’s just too dreary - even the poetry isn’t great. I think Jarmusch is trying to convince us that the poetry in this film is good, but it’s just mumbled statements.
I’ll repeat, the film isn’t bad, it’s just disappointing. Adam Driver just about keeps it afloat. Jarmusch has decided to make a slick dramedy but it ends up being too much style over substance. There just isn’t enough juicy bits to warrant two hours of your life. In addition, you know the film is lacklustre when the second best feature of the film is a snorting bulldog.
Cineroom’s Rating: 2 Stars
Paterson is currently showing at the Phoenix Leicester until Thursday 8th December – Certificate 15