I was a huge fan of Jim Jarmusch when he first started out. Down By Law is still one of my favourites, but have been less impressed with his more recent work.
Adam Driver stars as a bus driver whose name is the same as the town where he lives, which is almost the most interesting thing about him. He writes poetry inspired by the simple events that make up his life. There are some wonderful moments of observation, such as 2 guys bragging about their prowess chatting up ladies while a young woman walks past them and her look says so much. Driver is amiable, and we see him walking past abandoned industrial estates and he eats his lunch by a scenic river. All this is fine.
But he lives with a woman who is gratuitously quirky. I have no idea what they have in common. She seems to spend all day painting things black and white and dreaming up stupid ideas to make money. She makes cupcakes that everyone loves. She buys a guitar because it’s black and white so she decides to teach herself how to play and become a country star. Yeah, right.
After dinner Paterson walks the dog to the pub and has a beer. After a while I just started getting annoyed. This couple seem to have no radio or tv. Or friends or family. It just became a bit too … I don’t know what. Too driven by an idea of a humble poet, but a man with no real life or past.
As a travelogue for New Jersey it was great. I’d love to visit. But I wouldn’t want to meet either Paterson or his bubble headed girlfriend.