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Title: Paterson

Movie: :4stars:
Video: :4stars:
Audio: :4stars:
Extras: :halfstar:

HTS Overall Score:73

Back in the late 1940s and into the 1950s William Carlos Williams published a 5-volume set consisting of a giant poem that he labeled “Paterson”, which was his ramblings and explorations of a man and a city. Jim Jarmusch’s new film of the same named tries to do the same thing with a man named Paterson living in Paterson New Jersey. It’s a simple film that really isn’t explosively dramatic, but has an odd way of sucking you into the story and getting you involved with Paterson’s life despite the lack of dramatic tension. Much like the poems that Paterson writes during the film, “Paterson” is in itself a 2-hour poem about life, dreams, happiness, and disappoint all at once. It’s an unveiling of the beauty in the ordinary, and a laid-back look at how the ordinary can be something so extraordinary at the same time.

The film follows a week in the life of Paterson (Adam Driver), a bus driver who follows the same routine every day. He wakes up next to his beautiful Iranian-American wife Laura (Golshifteh Farahani), he grabs some breakfast, is off to work a day of driving random strangers around town, comes home, talks to Laura a little bit, then takes their pet English Bulldog Marvin out for a walk around the block and grab a beer with his friends. Rinse, repeat every day. The simplistic routine is pretty much par for the course with Paterson, as this is his simple life. However, both he and Laura dream of something more. Laura dreams of being a country music star, of becoming a painter, a famous pastry chef making cupcakes (each of which Paterson supports wholeheartedly even if his kooky wife flits from one dream to the next at the drop of a hat). Paterson takes out his dreams on paper. Between breaks on the job he crafts stream of consciousness poems that come from the heart and captures them all within a little binder. A binder that basically holds his life’s dreams and thoughts and views on the world. Everything from a poem about matches to introspections on dreams.

The most dramatic thing that happens during the film is his bus breaking down with a bunch of kids on board. Past that you won’t find massive reveals that will shock or amaze you. Rather Jarmusch focuses on creating a film that flows and wanders like an actual stream of consciousness poem itself. The routine of the day becomes so fluid and natural that you start looking for something that will break up that routine. The “edge of your seat” becomes a reality as the viewer wonders just what turn of events is going to throw Paterson off of his game. And those events come, from the reason that his mailbox is always loose in the ground, to simple irritations with his dog and wife, down to some completely devastating occurrences for the poet. Each of them serves to shape his life and show us that you don’t have to BE someone famous or great to have a gratifying and extraordinary life.

It's marvelous to see just how simple a great film can be, and I really mean SIMPLE. “Paterson” almost feels overly repetitious at times, but this repetition is what serves as the cornerstone for drawing you in. The day to day routine of his life creates the wonders for which Paterson constantly sees and transposes into his little binder. Adam Driver does a fantastic job with Paterson himself, giving a standout performance. A performance that is probably his most restrained yet, showing little emotion, yet showing so much at the same time. The very few words that he says on screen impacts with the weight of a hammer coupled with those emotive gazes of his. Farahani is great as Laura, and it was amazing how much simple chemistry the two shared despite their VERY obvious personality differences.


Rated R for some language

Video :4stars:
Shot on the Arri Alexa cameras, “Paterson” is a clean looking digital affair that doesn’t suffer from any real major flaws. Clarity is crisp and clear throughout, showing off intimate skin details in close ups, while also accented with the strange black and white color fetish that Laura seems to be so attached to in their little New Jersey home. Contrast is a solid enough and but black levels sometimes look a bit murky and washed out at times (usually most prominent when Paterson is within the pub drinking a beer). Overall, it’s a very nice looking film that isn’t ostentatious or glitzy, but manages to look beautiful in its own right. Color saturation is well done and while it isn’t a flashy or glitzy film, keeps a very pristine and visible clarity that is very neutral in color tone.

Audio :4stars:
Much like the film itself, the 5.1 DTS-HD MA track that Universal has given us is a very unassuming track. It’s well done, but nothing really draws attention to itself. The experience is naturally rather front heavy with most of the activity being lodged straight in the center channel. Dialog is crisp and well defined from the get go, and the mains make good use of the low-key score as well as the creaks and groans of the heavy bus that Paterson operates. Bass is a little constrained, but it comes into play quite frequently as background support for the bus or the sound of a door slamming shut in the background.

Extras :halfstar:

• Trailers

Overall: :3.5stars:

Jim Jarmusch’s “Paterson” is an oddly calming and quiet movie that draws you into the simple narrative before you realize that you’ve been sucked in. Jarmusch unveils the simple poetry of everyday life in each of the repetitious days, giving us just a glimpse of ordinary magic. Drive and Farahani are both incredible leads, and while the film doesn’t have a massive dramatic three section story arc, it manages to be a fascinating film that had me completely enthralled. Audio and video are very solid for a drama and, but sadly the extras are pretty much nil, unless you count a handful of trailers before the film “extras”. While the extras are a bit slim, that shouldn’t keep you from at least checking out “Paterson” for yourself. Definitely Recommended

Additional Information:

Starring: Adam Driver, Golshifteh Farahani, Nellie
Directed by: Jim Jarmusch
Written by: Jim Jarmusch
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 5.1
Studio: Universal
Rated: R
Runtime: 119 Minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: April 4th, 2017

Buy Paterson On Blu-ray at Amazon

Recommendation: Recommended

More about Mike

2,072 Posts
Thanks for the review. Never heard of this movie till now. The trailer looks good and the story is very interesting, so will check it out as a rental. Good story beats high glamour action anytime.
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