Filmmaker Jim Jarmusch’s latest movie unfolds in the calm overly slow pace that is essentially the director’s signature style, and which makes it something of a breath of fresh air these days when most movies seem to hurtle along at breakneck speed. This is the story of Patterson (Adam Driver) a very ordinary working man who lives in the suburban town of Patterson New Jersey. His monotonous daily routine never ever varies for a single moment from the 6 am alarm call that wakes him before he silently swoops down his bowl of Cheerios before he picks up his metal lunch box and sets off for the bus depot where he works as a driver.
Even the route he is assigned is the same every day and with mainly the same set of passengers that he half listens too as they idly chat about their own world. It’s only when he stops for his lunchtime break when his precious notebook comes out and he starts writing, does his day really start to take shape. Patterson’s one real passion is his poetry which he is always composing in his head as he drives through the city, or when he is walking to work.
When his shift finishes at 6pm he retraces his steps back home to be greeted by his very excitable stay-at-home Iranian-American wife Laura (Golshifteh Faraham) who wants to bombard him with her latest creative endeavor. She is always bedecking every surface in the house …..including drapes and shower curtains …. with bold black and white geometric designs that she paints on them. All the while she is planning her latest slightly hair-brained scheme which varies from being a famous country singer to baking the best cupcakes to sell at the local Farmers Market.
At 9 pm sharp Laura insists that Patterson takes Marvin their English bulldog for walk which stops at the same almost-empty neighborhood bar where he indulges in one beer every night. The bar, like the whole movie, feels like it is still back in an another era …..probably the 1980’s …..where the gentler pace of life would definitely have suited the seemingly emotionless Patterson.
He is the most gentlest of souls who indulges his rather manic wife who he is obviously in love with ….. opposites do attract …. and he is patient enough not to even be annoyed by his Supervisor’s daily whining about how tough his own life is. Patterson comes alive through his very simple and forthright poetry which he is content enough just to write for himself.
Driver, with his angular face, and lanky build is perfect as the slightly morose bus driver, and with very little to say he still manages to build this extremely likable character that we never fail to sympathize with.
Jarmusch’s movies are always very light on actual plot and very much an acquired taste, but if you can relate to his style of filmmaking, then Patterson is definitely one you will not want to miss.