Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Night on Earth (1991, Jim Jarmusch)

I feel like I should just copy and paste what I wrote for Paris, Je'Taime because both of these write ups are going to come out almost the same.

Jarmusch's Night on Earth is made up of 5 short stories/short films each filmed in a major city from all around the world which all deal with a cab driver and his or her experience with their customer through out a night. We see Winona Ryder drive a casting agent through L.A, a cab driver who doesn't know how to drive in New York, a man and a blind woman having a conversation in France, Roberto Benifni picking up a priest and confessing his sins to him in Rome, and a cab driver picking up a couple of drunk workers in Finland and then telling them the saddest story they will ever hear.

I have a couple of films left to watch from Jarmuch but for the most part I really like the guy, despite me having a huge hatred towards Stranger Than Paradise. I really like his minimalistic style and I like his dry sense of humor a lot. He is definitely one of the many directors out there whose full work I am trying to watch.

Now, I don't know what it is with me and anthology films. I love the idea of them and I always expect for me to enjoy them but I always find myself saying the exact same thing after each one of these kinds of films: they are always a mixed bag. Some turn out excellent, some turn out good, and one or two of them always turn out bad. Night on Earth suffers from this exact thing.

The film contains one excellent story where Benigni steals the show as the wild cab driver who begins to confess his sins to a priest while driving him. Apart from that, the film never really reaches such an excellent point as this one. The remaining 4 stories have their highs and lows and for the most part are enjoyable but there is never anything too amazing about them, sadly. However, there are no real bad apples in the bunch, which is a good thing.

The one thing that is amazing, though, is Tom Waits score and soundtrack to the film which is just as cool as you would expect. His musical style is a perfect fit to the mood that Jarmuch evokes through out the film. The film just wouldn't be the same without it.

I really have nothing else to write about. It's far from a great film but it's enjoyable enough. It's worth watching just to see the Rome segment with Begnini.

- ***

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