Film Micrœview #408: Paterson (2016)

02.11.2018 § Leave a comment

Rating: Good.

As one expects from Jarmusch, an understated American hymn. I didn’t realize Elmes did the cinematography until the credits, which amused me because at one point I had the thought that I was watching something like as if David Lynch were to have a pleasant dream instead of a nightmare.

The mystical Japanese man at the end was rendered okay through the “excuse me… ah ha!” moment and the contextualizing with the Abbott and Costello yellowface clip (and Jarmusch’s oeuvre). Laura looks like her. Everett *is* an actor. The black barkeep knows all about Abbott, outta kick Everett’s black ass. Paterson won’t get a smartphone and he won’t get a TV. Paterson elbow bumps Method Man. The only other white characters are the little girl poet, maybe the homeless man Paterson gives to, and the white thugs who threaten to dogjack Marvin. Marvin is definitely Laura’s dog. Just as he tips over the mailbox every day, Marvin’s eating of the secret notebook will be recovered from (and happen again and again). “I don’t like you Marvin,” drops with brutality. Laura doesn’t feel so much like a character as a foil to Paterson; even Everett and the barkeep feel more like characters than her. That said, their relationship and its quiet dishonesty and suspicion is almost a character itself. What does it mean that Paterson gets so much street cred, is uber-sympathetic, even heroic, and has no complaints?

Anyway, the water fall was beautiful. I learned some about poetry. The film kept my girlfriend and I talking for some time. It constructed cinematic time well. The fashion wasn’t as good as Only Lovers Left Alive, but did you expect it to be? Driver is pretty solid, as I’ve come to expect from him. Overall a subtle, worthwhile picture of community and creativity in America.


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