From the opening shot of Isaach de Bankole waving Tai Chi gestures in a bathroom stall, I could see this was a beautifully composed film. From the first line, “You don’t speak Spanish, right?” it was also clear that this would be a Jarmush film. Beyond these two facts, I’m not sure what to make of it. Has the legacy of European Cinema in America unraveled itself so much that a Lone Man finds his purpose in vengeance against some toupée-wearing Philistine? It seems Jarmusch has taken the best of mentors and contemporaries such as Wim Wenders and Claire Denis, along with the worst from the Hollywood echo chamber of happy endings and pretentious self-indulgences. Aside from the words of bad reviews, however, I would like to say that it is a risky film. It’s a film to take in pieces, just as each clue is delivered to the Lone Man. My sense is that those who too heavily criticize the sense of the narrative miss the point, but those that indulge in the inner world of Jarmush fail to see the forest for the trees. Can you tell the difference?
Tim Ridlen is an artist and writer who has recently relocated to New York City from Chicago.He is the Senior Editor of Boot Print, a publication out of St. Louis, MO, and has recently written reviews for New City in Chicago.He is currently a New York City correspondent for Bad at Sports.More information is available at www.timridlen.info.