Eye For Film >> Movies >> The Jim Jarmusch Collection: Volume 2 (2008) Film Review
In Mystery Train (1989), three foreigners converge onto the same Memphis hotel. Night On Earth (1991) traces taxi rides in five different world cities over one night. In Dead Man (1995), an accountant becomes a reluctant outlaw in America's northernmost frontierland.
The sustained use of distanced wideshots, the meandering pace, the casting of musicians, the deadpan humour, the obsession with outsiders. These were the common threads that united Jim Jarmusch's first three features Permanent Vacation (1980), Stranger Than Paradise (1984) and Down By Law (1986) – all brought together on The Jim Jarmusch Collection: Volume 1 - and they continue to dominate the films collected on this second volume from Optimum Home Entertainment.
It is not that Jarmusch is a one-trick pony - his films are always far richer and more ambitious than their laid-back veneer might at first suggest. Rather it is that the coolest kid on the indie block has a truly distinctive voice, making these films instantly recognisable as his alone. Only Finland's Aki Kaurismäki operates in remotely similar cinematic terrains, which explains the full-blown homage to Kaurismäki's absurdist miserabilism in the last (and best) episode of Night On Earth, set in Helsinki.
In their way, all three films are essential viewing, tracing an alternative form of cinema from a nation more normally associated with the deepest mainstream.Reviewed on: 05 Jan 2009