A young man wanders New York City searching for some meaning in life and encounters many idiosyncratic characters.A young man wanders New York City searching for some meaning in life and encounters many idiosyncratic characters.A young man wanders New York City searching for some meaning in life and encounters many idiosyncratic characters.
"Permanent Vacation" is the darkly comic debut of acclaimed indie filmmaker Jim Jarmusch, and is unfortunately a somewhat boring film. It had plenty of things going for it, an unsettling and hypnotic musical score, a wild sense of dark humor, an interesting cast of side characters, and a beautiful visual style. However, Jarmusch sadly decided to craft this film's final product into a seemingly incomplete, ridiculously slow paced ride that is scattered with moments of genius throughout. There is plenty I liked about this movie, but it was just so TEDIOUS and DULL-this is a 70 minute long movie that really should have only been a 40 minute long movie. The main character is annoying and pretentious, a lot of the dialogue is cringe inducing (while some of it is actually pretty amazing), and by the end I just wanted to take a nap. This could have easily been a great film if Jarmusch decided to work a little bit more on crafting a main character that is at least somewhat bearable (he doesn't have to be likable, but please don't make him boring and obnoxious!), and made it less goddamn SLOW! I am all for slow movies ("Satantango" is one of my absolute favorite films), and there are a few scenes in this film that are excruciatingly slow paced but manage to work due to the slowness adding to the emotional depth and black humor of those scenes. However, a vast majority of the excruciatingly slow sequences in this film just made me want to beat my head against a brick wall so I could be entertained for once!
This isn't a bad film at all, and I would recommend it to some degree for anyone whose interested, but I would still have to recommend it with caution because it is so, so very flawed and at times unbearably boring. But, at the very least there is a lot of great humor, visual flare, quirky side characters, and beautifully discomforting background music.
Luckily, Jarmusch would improve his ways and skills by the time he made his follow up, break out feature "Stranger Than Paradise", which is not only one of the funniest movies of all time, but also one of my absolute FAVORITES!
- Feb 4, 2017