Paterson: NZIFF Review
Jim Jarmusch's reflective and languid approach suits Adam Driver's rhythms in Paterson, a thematic companion piece to Ken Loach's I, Daniel Blake in its salutations of the common man.
Driver is Paterson, a routine bus driver in the burb of Paterson, who has a daily routine. His watch wakes him around 610am daily, he eats the same breakfast, heads to work at the bus depot and finds time to write poetry before his shift and during. Heading home every day at 6, he corrects a leaning post-box that moves daily, has dinner, walks his shared bulldog Marvin and goes to the local watering hole.
So far, so familiar as Jarmusch's patented loops play out over an 8 day period. But as the days progress, small variations crop up towards the end of the week in Paterson's life - from a girlfriend whose borderline OCD and creative obsession with black and white mean each return home is random to a cataclysmic moment involving his bus.
These are the beats of Paterson, where the ordinary is celebrated and the pace is languid to prosaic. As this ode to the mundane progresses, there are visual tics and tricks that Jarmusch throws into the mix to almost test as if you are paying attention to what's transpiring as the story's more lyrical edges wax and wane with time progressing.
Throwing in a cute scene stealing dog also helps proceedings (when the deliberate pace slows a little too much) as well with Marvin the bulldog (sadly RIP now) proving to be the juxtaposition to Paterson's life in a small way to many, but devastating to the celebration of the mundane. Driver's a relatively blank canvas throughout, with his small intrusions into life being catalogued more by the outre behaviour of others - from the bus depot boss whose life is full of dramas to the dreams of his cup-cake empire dreaming partner, his calmness gives the yin to everyone's extraordinary yang.
Blessed with dry humour and quiet reflections on life, Paterson's simplicity and gorgeousness is in its execution. Its rhythms and wry humour may not be for everyone, but for those who fall for the loops of life and the idiosyncracies within, this slow celebration of the mundanities of it all works wonders.