Paterson is a perplexing movie, to say the least. Written and directed by Jim Jarmusch (known for small films such as Only Lovers Left Alive and Dead Man), it came out in 2016 and made a grand total of about 2 million dollars. It stars everyone’s least favorite dad killer Kylo Ren, or Adam Driver rather, and absolutely no one else. Seriously, the only other notable actor in this film is Rizwan Manji, who mostly acts in television (Schitt’s Creek, Goliath).
This works well in the movie’s favor, however. This is a movie about normal people doing normal things, so it was nice to see almost all unfamiliar faces. I was able to become more invested in the characters’ lives, and it helped immerse me in the world I was being shown.
That being said, Paterson is one of the more confusing movies I’ve seen in a long time. It’s not confusing in terms of story, or some Shyamalan-esque plot twists, however. Simply put, I’m confused about how this movie was actually good (and it is very good). As this article’s title suggests, Paterson truly is a movie about nothing. There is no major conflict, no driving force or call to action for our protagonist. It literally portrays a normal week in the life of a bus driver who just so happens to write poetry and has an incredibly creative girlfriend/wife (it’s not really clear). Several scenes in the movie seem to foreshadow some sort of conflict, yet nothing comes of these red herrings. If a minor conflict is introduced, it is immediately resolved either in the same scene or the scene after. Yet I was still invested from beginning to end.
From a technical standpoint, Paterson remains pretty average as well. There are a couple of interesting montages, but other than that the cinematography is quite mediocre. The thing that shines through the most, and possibly why I loved it so much, is the script. The dialogue in this movie is enthralling, as the script is able to find a perfect balance between words of poetic beauty, and words that would be believable to hear in real life. It’s both larger than life and grounded in reality at the same time.
I’m sure that not everyone will love Paterson. There are probably a good bit of people who hate the movie for being so slow. If your movie watching experiences only consist of big summer blockbusters filled with action, then this movie probably isn’t for you. But I love a good action flick as much as the next guy, and I would give this movie a huge recommend. If you’re willing to take a risk on this smaller film, I think you’ll find that it will be worth your time. It warrants at least two viewings, once to invest in the story, and then again to see a new perspective, having already found out how each story thread comes together.
My rating doesn’t matter, but I’ll give it anyways, just because I can.