Is Zen always this fun? And to think I keep putting off Monday meditation class at London bridge to, well, have fun instead. Go figure. Luckily, this little gem must help in my efforts to achieve oneness with the Void. But I digress as usual and in true film reviewer style, seem to be talking about myself a lot. Straight up confession on the dancefloor time, I did see this film in a complete post-allergic sneezing attack histamine overload sort of way. I think this made me receptive to a film that is very slow-moving to the point of difficult/dull/transcendent ( aren’t they all the same sometimes anyway? )
So basically we have a hip Zen-like assassin, played by the very visually entertaining and facially sculpted Isaac de Banakole, who recieves coded messages in matchboxes and practices ta’i chi on trains to Spain in pursuit of “the American”. This implies action, however, do don’t be fooled as Jarmsuch implodes the hitman genre through inactivity and rambles to look at abstact paintings in Madrid’s Reina Sofia museum, whilst encountering cameos from my beloved Tilda Swinton, amongst others. She is very odd in this one but has a nice few thoughts about Hitchcock and film in a self-referential way ( it’s the only way to be, I guess , in a film of this ilk ), but not sure about the silly wig.
Chris Doyle, who we adore from Hong Kong cinema, brings his usual high standards of cinematography and composition to every scene, creating an alien Spanish landscape of immense beauty, glimpsed through refracted train windows, and also positing the hitman amongst sleek modernist buildings ( shades of Antonini here ) …quite captivating to look at….
So I recommend this film with the foreknowledge that it will be a difficult sell, even for Jim Jarmuch fans, so best to go and let the image wash over you and be a bit Zen about it all, y’know.