For Reel

Night on Earth (1991)
June 8, 2011, 8:05 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: Jim Jarmusch

Five self-contained cab rides comprise the pleasurable, if inconsistent Night on Earth, Jim Jarmusch’s follow up to Mystery Train. It is slow to start – Winona Ryder is miscast as a chain-smoking taxi driver – however Armin Müller-Stahl redeems the film in its second short as the incompetent driver working his first night on the job. While none of the shorts are ambitious enough to live up to the lofty premise, the series of oddities – including a crude blind passenger and motormouth Roberto Benigni using his cab as a confessional booth – provide for entertaining, unusually specific parables about human interaction. Everything culminates with the ironic pathos of a Helsinki cab wherein two men berate their depressed, drunken friend for not being quite as sympathetic as their driver. Although the overarching meaning that unites these segments continues to be evasive, one is glad to have spent the time investing in Jarmusch’s outlandish vision.

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