Paterson Review

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The Kylo-Ren spinoff we’ve been waiting for…

In “Paterson: A Star Wars Story”, we are treated with yet another Star Wars prequel and we are finally brought up to date on how the evil villain Kylo Ren turned to the dark side…wait what? You mean Paterson is not a Star Wars movie and it is not about Kylo Ren? My mind is blown. OK, all jokes aside, “Paterson” starring Adam Driver opened this weekend amidst minimal fanfare. The creation of director Jim Jarmusch, the trailer is vague yet curiously intriguing. When faced with the alternative of either watching the umpteenth offerings of franchise movies like XXX or Resident Evil, the mystery that is “Paterson” seemed like a welcome alternative.

Admittedly not familiar with Jim Jarmusch’s work but hearing supposedly good things about them, “Paterson” is the director’s poetic tale of the beauty of the mundane. That’s probably the best way to describe what this movie is all about because there is not much else going on here. In “Paterson”, we experience an apparently normal week in the life of bus driver Paterson as he drives his routes in the small New Jersey town of Paterson. Yes, that is correct…a movie about a man named Paterson who lives in Paterson. It is very poetic and that’s the point. Paterson also happens to be a poet. He spends his free time writing poems when he is not driving his bus, walking his dog or eating dinner with his girlfriend. The poems are not of the rhyming variety per se…but with rhythmic ebbs and flows that mirror his daily life. Similar beats but with minute differences each day.

Paterson” is composed quite magnificently. The movie maintains a steady even beat throughout and never rises above this level, but it still manages to build up your intrigue as the scenes move along. The viewer can’t help but look forward to each day that Paterson wakes up for work just to see what interesting or uninteresting things will be experienced by him that day. It is beautiful to see the integration of Paterson’s writings onto the screen as we witness things that Paterson is observing. Paterson may be a small town in New Jersey that no one wants to visit, but “Paterson” makes this average town seem beautifully above average. Adam Driver is an enjoyable presence on screen. After starring in Star Wars, Midnight Special, and Silence, Driver continues his on screen excellence and this might be his best work of what was an amazing year for him. He provides the right balance of seriousness and humor in this one.

They say that the best way to be liked is to not try too hard and “Paterson” doesn’t. “Paterson” doesn’t promise spectacular action or riveting drama, it just is and that’s what makes it so beautiful. The movie and the main character himself seem to showcase the “art of Wu-Wei” and you witness this as Paterson just tends to “go with the flow” every day, staying even keel emotionally despite some frustrations and relying on effortless spontaneity to write his beautiful poems. This could be considered almost genius by Jim Jarsmusch as he has managed to recreate an updated, more adult version of Groundhogs Day or a movie version of a less ridiculous episode of Seinfeld. After hustling and bustling in everyday life, it is pleasant to just take an afternoon walk in the park sometimes and “Paterson” is literally the movie equivalent of this walk in the park. I mean we literally get to go along with Paterson as he takes an afternoon walk but the point I meant to make is that taking the walk is pleasant and relaxing. This movie is pleasant and relaxing.  The hustle and bustle of life is great and so are the big blockbuster movies like Star Wars or the like but it’s refreshing to take a break from them sometime and appreciate the simple things in life. Like “Paterson”.

 

Grade: A-

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