Permanent Vacation

Permanent Vacation ★★½

100 FILMS IN ONE SUMMER 2021 - FILM #92

Jim Jarmusch has grown to be one of my favorite filmmakers over the past year or so, and while most of what I’ve seen from him has been his earlier work, I was still interested in seeing what his debut was like. I knew that the trademark deadpan cool that Jarmusch was known for would be absent here in Permanent Vacation, and I was right. While it does lack that, the film’s episodic (If you can even really call it that) structure mirrors what is seen in a lot of his other movies, and even the references to Charlie Parker reminded me of how often Elvis Presley was brought up in Mystery Train. I can’t really see someone who isn’t already a fan of Jarmusch watching this movie, because Permanent Vacation is a meandering and generally uninteresting movie with an uninteresting protagonist. 

For a movie that’s roughly 75 minutes long, Permanent Vacation drags for the entirety of its runtime, and it ends up feeling like an endurance test for your attention span. I will give credit where credit is due, though, as the film did have some highlights with scenes like the dancing scene, the saxophone scene, and the scene with Frankie Faison. Permanent Vacation isn’t flat out bad, but I didn’t have a very good time watching it, and I can’t see anyone seeing this for any reason other than as a history lesson in Jarmusch’s filmography.

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