Paterson ★★★★½

The Letterboxd Era Catch Up 2: The Last Stand

I know that he did a bad thing, but Marvin is still a good dog.

I mean, he sits loyally and quietly outside that bar every night while Adam Driver goes in for a pint. Plus there's the fact that he keeps alerting Driver and Golshifteh Farahani that their mailbox needs knocking into the ground some more by going and making it lean over from time to time.

26 stars for Marvin and a deserved Palme Dog.

Actually, you know you've got an incredibly unassuming and gentle film on your hands when the most aggressive thing, outside of the toy gun incident, that anyone says or does in this film is Driver nervously telling Marvin, "I don't like you, Marvin."

There's a wonderful list doing the rounds on here at the moment (you do still get one or two) called Gentle Cinema and I think there's a case that Paterson should be front and centre on it. As lovely and moving a film as it is, I found myself very aware of my own reactions to it throughout.

I don't know if it's because I'm such a devotee of thrillers and action films and crime films, but I was always expecting conflict and tension. I also don't know if it was Jim Jarmusch playing around with such expectations, with encounters with a car full of lads and Method Man not quite panning out the way I was expecting. Additionally, Driver's reaction to Marvin's aforementioned crime was far, far quieter and more dignified than I expected.

Driver reminds me of someone as an actor but I can't think of who it is. His performances here and in Logan Lucky have a marvellous slightness to how silly he can be but also lots of dignity and pathos. It's been driving me nuts all afternoon trying to put my finger on it but what I can say for sure is that he and Jarmusch make the perfect partnership in how they capture Paterson.

His earwigging of conversations on his bus and quietly taking in things that are going on around him to place in his next poem was really well observed. His mannerisms are splendid too in keeping the quietly comedic air that surrounds him a lot of the time. His gulping down full glasses of water to try and keep down mouthfuls of brussel sprout and cheddar cheese pie was one of the funniest things I've seen for ages.

More than anything, Jarmusch has shown the lesser-spotted art of creating a film where we just get to spend some time with lots of nice people being nice and living quiet, admirable lives is something we perhaps need a lot more of in cinema. I love a slab of cynicism as much as the next person, but there's nothing quite like coming away from a film wishing that you knew these pleasant people in real life and that you could have spent lots more time with them. Just delightful.

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Steve G liked this review