Paterson, Film Review. Picturehouse@F.A.C.T., Liverpool.

Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating 8.5/10

Cast: Adam Driver, Golshifteh Farahani, Chaston Harmon, William Jackson Harper, Barry Shabaka Henley, Johnnie Mae, Masatoshi Nagase.

There is only one thing worse than a poet without a voice, that their means of communication is destroyed by unseen hand and that is when they deny their craft in conversation to another poet, that their resolve or confidence is so low that they pretend or forget that they have spent time in the wordless void as they honed their verse.

Every town, every street has its poet in time, its resident wordsmith, some are fortunate to have those who for a while make it their homes and in the off-beat but perfectly charming Paterson, poets are given prominence in film they deserve. Poetry doesn’t get the respect it deserves in the modern age because everybody believes themselves capable of writing a sonnet, a free verse line, this is of course true, everybody can write if they put their mind to it, however what they don’t do is feel the grief of each word, they don’t live in the lines and it is both director/writer Jim Jarmusch and lead role Adam Driver that the poetry involved, regardless as part of the text or the nuance of the film, is felt with keen awareness and subtle beauty.

The point of Paterson’s life as he drives his regular bus around the town of Paterson is that he observes and listens without wishing to reply, he makes the most of the senses granted him and because of this is able to produce almost effortless poetry but ones that are steeped in the excellence of pain and self chastisement. The very nature of the film promotes this pleasure, of living in the bus driver’s life, of his love and poetic adoration for notable American poet William Carlos Williams and each shot is almost dipped in verse that is not at odds with life’s eternal struggle to catch a rare moment of beauty in any situation.

The understated performance by Adam Driver, a man of seemingly delicate conviction, is to be congratulated, to be admired as he measures his lines with precision and with drama left for only the very peaks of the week the audience is allowed to view. A beautiful performance, quiet, understated and wild, New Jersey might revel in its past but like everywhere on the planet it needs to start to revealing its undiscovered talent and in Paterson, the undiscovered need to retain and shout out loud their voice.

Ian D. Hall