Uncovering Curiosities: Jim Jarmusch’s PATERSON

Cult supremo Jim Jarmusch’s 2016 film, Paterson is a real quirky treat. The writer-director draws you into its greatness, softly lulling you into a sense of comfort and relaxation. On a narrative level it’s very simple – the film follows a week in the life of a Bus Driver/ aspiring poet called Patterson (Adam Driver), who just so happens to live in the town of Paterson, New Jersey. That’s the story, but the whole piece is layered with characterisation and emotional honesty.

As a filmmaker Jarmusch can often go off into the abstract (Dead Man, The Dead Don’t Die), but in Patterson he excels at delivering heart-felt reality. There’s nothing flashy going on and Jarmusch doesn’t over-complicate the piece. He scored an ace-in-the-hole by casting Adam Driver, who is great in the lead role of Paterson.

Driver is able to deliver soft moments of comedy and drama, perfectly balancing his performance with the film’s tone. Over the years Driver has become a Movies In Focus favourite having done sterling acting in such diverse films as J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Noah Baumbach’s While We’re Young (along with everything else in-between). Patterson is one of the actor’s best performances and just like the film Driver’s acting is small, subtle and honest. It must also be noted that Golshifteh Farahani does excellent work as his quirky wife, who wants to be a country music star and a cupcake supremo – talk about having goals in life. 

Paterson is a film which doesn’t rely on theatrics, tension or expensive special effects. Jarmusch’s independent sensibility is the only vision to deliver this well-crafted piece. He doesn’t worry about audiences or box office, he only cares about making what he wants to make. Paterson is a comedy without laughs and a drama without drama – it’s like real life. Patterson has a well-balanced tone and a note-perfect performance from Adam Driver. It’s a little movie that needs to be seen by those who want to be caught-up in the spell of great movie-making.