Newest Reviews
American Fiction
Poor Things
Legend of the Bat
Party Line
Night Fright
Pacha, Le
Assemble Insert
Venus Tear Diamond, The
Beauty's Evil Roses, The
Free Guy
Huck and Tom's Mississippi Adventure
Rejuvenator, The
Who Fears the Devil?
Guignolo, Le
Batman, The
Land of Many Perfumes
Cat vs. Rat
Tom & Jerry: The Movie
Naked Violence
Joyeuses Pacques
Strangeness, The
How I Became a Superhero
Golden Nun
Incident at Phantom Hill
Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City
Maigret Sets a Trap
Hell's Wind Staff, The
Topo Gigio and the Missile War
Battant, Le
Penguin Highway
Cazadore de Demonios
Imperial Swordsman
Newest Articles
3 From Arrow Player: Sweet Sugar, Girls Nite Out and Manhattan Baby
Little Cat Feat: Stephen King's Cat's Eye on 4K UHD
La Violence: Dobermann at 25
Serious Comedy: The Wrong Arm of the Law on Blu-ray
DC Showcase: Constantine - The House of Mystery and More on Blu-ray
Monster Fun: Three Monster Tales of Sci-Fi Terror on Blu-ray
State of the 70s: Play for Today Volume 3 on Blu-ray
The Movie Damned: Cursed Films II on Shudder
The Dead of Night: In Cold Blood on Blu-ray
Suave and Sophisticated: The Persuaders! Take 50 on Blu-ray
Your Rules are Really Beginning to Annoy Me: Escape from L.A. on 4K UHD
A Woman's Viewfinder: The Camera is Ours on DVD
Chaplin's Silent Pursuit: Modern Times on Blu-ray
The Ecstasy of Cosmic Boredom: Dark Star on Arrow
A Frosty Reception: South and The Great White Silence on Blu-ray
You'll Never Guess Which is Sammo: Skinny Tiger and Fatty Dragon on Blu-ray
Two Christopher Miles Shorts: The Six-Sided Triangle/Rhythm 'n' Greens on Blu-ray
Not So Permissive: The Lovers! on Blu-ray
Uncomfortable Truths: Three Shorts by Andrea Arnold on MUBI
The Call of Nostalgia: Ghostbusters Afterlife on Blu-ray
Moon Night - Space 1999: Super Space Theater on Blu-ray
Super Sammo: Warriors Two and The Prodigal Son on Blu-ray
Sex vs Violence: In the Realm of the Senses on Blu-ray
What's So Funny About Brit Horror? Vampira and Bloodbath at the House of Death on Arrow
Keeping the Beatles Alive: Get Back
  Stranger Than Paradise Nowheresville
Year: 1984
Director: Jim Jarmusch
Stars: John Lurie, Eszter Balint, Richard Edson, Cecillia Stark, Danny Rosen, Ramellzee, Tom DiCillo, Richard Boes, Rockets Redglare, Harvey Perr, Brian J. Burchill, Sara Driver, Paul Sloane
Genre: Comedy, DramaBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 3 votes)
Review: Teenage Hungarian Eva (Eszter Balint) gets off the plane in New York and makes her way through the streets to the dingy apartment of her cousin Willie (John Lurie), a man who has been assimilated into American culture far more successfully than, say, his Aunt Lottie (Cecillia Stark) who has telephoned him to inform him of Eva's imminent arrival. He is none too pleased, but does not have much choice in the matter as the girl has nowhere else to go. When she turns up, he is aggravated with her, but she isn't exactly delighted either, although over the ten days that she stays with him they reach an understanding...

After Permanent Vacation made small ripples on the big pond of indie cinema, Jim Jarmusch found himself with some film left over from a Wim Wenders movie shoot with which to make any story he cared to. Starting out as a short work then expanded into what we see today, Stranger Than Paradise found a following of movie fans unexpectedly engaged by these inarticulate, going nowhere characters, and the cult of Jarmusch was well and truly underway, with his trademark deadpan humour, deceptive lack of incident and rambling plotlines.

If anything this was the opposite of an action movie, an inaction movie if you will, so in place of car chases, explosions and fistfights there were mumbled conversations, frustration, lethargy and although there is a car, it doesn't get into any high speed pursuits even if it does travel a long way. On first glance, there seems precious little to entertain all but the most dedicated viewer, but the more you watch it, the more you are immersed in this muted world and after a while you are, like these people, pondering what kind of animal is in a T.V. dinner.

The narrative is split into three parts, all filmed in exactly the same style, which is to set up the camera in a corner of the scene, allow the actors to make their way through the dialogue (which sounds improvised), and then cut to black for a few seconds. Repeat until the experience is over. You may think that a film where nothing much physical occurs might be hamstrung by the fact that the characters struggle to think of anything to say to each other, yet in effect this becomes the biggest joke, culminating in a cruel but wincingly amusing punchline right at the end, proving that if they had sorted out their communication problems, their malaise might have been solved.

The first part takes place in New York City, looking mightily inhospitable, as Willie and Eva get to know each other and Willie's best friend Eddie (Richard Edson), also goodnatured but reticent to engage in useful conversation. They spend their time watching television in the cramped apartment, with Willie exasperated initially, but eventually buying a dress for his guest, which she is so delighted with that she drops it in the trash outside after bidding him farewell to go to Aunt Lottie in Cleveland. One year later, in part two, Willie and Eddie are looking for adventure so head out on the highway to, er, Cleveland in the depths of winter for more unfulfilling times with Eva, then in the last part all three of them decide life would be better if they went to Florida, which you can guess fails to satisfy them. A film about the illusion of movement and progress, where you can travel hundreds of miles to find out you might as well have stayed where you were for all the good it has done you. Music by Lurie.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


This review has been viewed 3983 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film


Jim Jarmusch  (1953 - )

American writer-director of laconic, wryly observed dramas on a low budget. Deliberately boring films like Permanent Vacation and Stranger Than Paradise got him noticed, which led to the great Down By Law and episodic Mystery Train and Night on Earth. Then came his western, Dead Man, and his thriller, Ghost Dog, both in his highly individual manner.

Talk piece Coffee and Cigarettes was filmed over many years and saw a return to his episodic style, while 2005's reflective drama Broken Flowers was specifically written for star Bill Murray, who showed up in starry but inscrutable hitman drama The Limits of Control. Next was his first horror movie, Only Lovers Left Alive widely regarded as a late return to form. Paterson was a drama about a bus-driving poet, again acclaimed, but his return to horror with zombie flick The Dead Don't Die was widely bashed. Also appears in quirky cameo roles: eg. Leningrad Cowboys Go America, In the Soup and Blue in the Face.

Review Comments (0)

Untitled 1

Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside

Recent Visitors
Enoch Sneed
Darren Jones
  Louise Hackett
Mark Le Surf-hall
Andrew Pragasam
Mary Sibley
Graeme Clark
  Desbris M


Last Updated: