Permanent Vacation Reviews

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cosmo313
Super Reviewer
June 22, 2010
Good God was this a hard film to sit through. Conceptually, it's a good idea (a kooky dude aimlessly wandering around the dingier parts of lower Manhattan interacting with people as nutty as himself) in small doses or fragments, but to have the whole film be nothing but that...damn. Stranger Than Paradise had no real plot, but at least had some semblance of a structure. This is totally plotless and free form. I probably would have liked this more had I viewewed it in an altered state of mind. To put things in perspective though, it was made 100% on the cheap, is the essence of independent cinema, and was Jarmusch's first film, so some of this is forgiveable. It pretty much an intriguing student film that shows signs of creativity, even if things aren't completely there yet. This work heavily forshadows the future of Jarmusch's career, but I won't recommend this as a starting place for people wanting to get into his work. This is definitely for hardcore fans only.
Super Reviewer
March 28, 2011
One thing's for sure: Writer-director Jim Jarmusch relished long silences and deathly slow pacing from the start. "Permanent Vacation," his no-budget debut, lasts a mere 75 minutes but feels more like 175. There is no tangible plot -- only a ducktailed drifter named Allie (Chris Parker) who wanders around seedy New York, having light encounters with various subculture characters. Recurrent Jarmusch collaborators Sara Driver and John Lurie are among the cast, and Lurie also wrote the score. "Stranger than Paradise" fans (hopefully, this includes everyone?) will notice the two films have similar endings.

"Permanent Vacation" is much more of an endurance test, however. Parker dominates the screen time yet, unfortunately, he may be the film's least interesting actor. His prime handicap is a thin, whiny voice that would quickly turn unbearable if not for him having so few lines. Really, the film's most notable aspect may be its sound. The score is dominated by odd, droning lines that sound like church bells ringing underwater, and low-flying planes and ambient noise often obscure the dialogue. The mix's chance imperfections are almost avant-garde.
Super Reviewer
½ November 24, 2012
Jim Jarmusch's first film seem more experimental than major compared to his other films. Permanent Vacation shows of Jarmusch's cinematic expression with poetic nature and calm atomosphere. The story Follows a young man his views in life and the world he personally live in, full of likable scenarios and and self discovery. The pacing may be a bit slow, but it a small film with a lot of potential and really shows off what Jarmusch did before his more superior features. Recomended for those familiar with Jarmusch's films.
Super Reviewer
June 13, 2009
Jarmusch's first film doesn't possess the charm of his later ones, but his freewheeling episodic approach to storytelling is already evident.
March 25, 2014
Jim Jarmusch's debut feature length feature is a strange flick following a awkward individual as he passes from one place to the other meeting other strange, awkward, and uncomfortable people. The lead character mumbles his way through every line, and I can barely figure out what he is rambling on about...but there is some amateur charm in Jarmusch's very early work. I like the director, which is probably why I give this a little more leeway. I kind of liked it, but it is admittedly not for everyone (I'm not terribly sure its for all that many)...and I don't think I can say it was good. In someways it feels a lot like the kind of stuff I'd see so much of in Film School, only with a hint of talent behind it all.
March 24, 2008
Pure independent filmmaking, but only worth watching for fans of Jarmusch's later work. Chris's visit with his mother is memorable, but otherwise it's a lot of talk for an 80 minute film.
February 23, 2008
This is the second Jarmusch film I'm going to slag off in less than twelve hours. How awesome am I?

This is Jarmusch's first film and, honestly, I think it's more successful than Stranger Than Paradise. Visually, it's a fairly solid movie. For a first time director, he's got a handle on color that I truly envy. To bad there's little substance.

I KNOW! MINIMALIST! But to me, minimalist doesn't translate out to "crap." Because that's what most of this movie is. There's nothing tying this movie together. It's just a dude walking around. At least with Stranger than Paradise, we had a rough shell of a plot and there was some kind of character decision. Our main character doesn't have any kind of back story whatsoever. He's got no needs or no drive. He just talks without really saying much of anything. It's the philosophy of nothing.

There is one moment that I enjoyed. The irony of the whole scene was that if it was in any other movie, I would have criticised it for telling its message through monologue instead of action. But since this movie really didn't feed me anything else, I guess I have to settle for this soliloquy. There's a scene in a movie theater where a guy tells a story of a suicide case playing "Somewhere Over the Rainbow." That story was really well written and (even if it was told somewhere else before), I felt it tied our lead character to someone else in a real way. All of the other interactions in this movie are people playing crazy and miserable.

But back to the main character. The titular line reveals that the main character is looking for nothing to do for the rest of his life. But we don't really get an insight into why he's so downtrodden. He works hard to maintain his laziness, but that isn't even the focus of the piece. Hell, I think that's even a great idea to make a movie out of but that isn't the theme of this movie. This movie just...

...is.
February 1, 2015
A brilliant visceral depiction of abandoned New York City through the eyes of a distant drifter. The beginning of the Jarmusch style and a landmark of indie film in the 80s
½ August 28, 2008
Permanent Vacation is a moody slice of life that engages male ennui in a way that feels fresh and unexplored given when it was made. In his first film Mr. Jarmusch establishes what he's all about and challenges the viewer to come along for the ride.
October 24, 2014
What. Rubbish film. Haven't watched anythin
g so boring in many years!!!!
July 16, 2014
Interesting little indie art movie about a young guy who lives as a drifter in the slums of New York. The whole movie is just him wandering around and coming into contact with weird, but also somewhat interesting people.

Throughout the movie he talks about not being able to settle down or get a job. At some points he sort of comes off as mentally unstable, but not exactly in a violent way. More in just an awkward way although at the same time as being somewhat articulate. He doesn't seem to be lost physically or mentally. He really just seems to be lost in life with no direction, because he has no family for support and finds it hard to create relationships.

I didn't think the movie overall was great, but I did find it to be a very interesting character study with interesting visuals.
August 2, 2013
The person who put this page together needs to do better research. There are two films with the title Permanent Vacation. The trailer is not for the Jim Jarmusch one, neither is the synopsis or the list of cast members
May 24, 2013
The only meaningful thing about this movie is the opening and closing statement. But what can I say about Jim Jarmusch, he is good at making this strolling film interesting, when he made a film that actually has a purpose it ended up boring.
½ May 7, 2013
'Permanent Vacation' is a grainy, low-budget affair. The acting is often amateurish; the plot more than a little aimless and meandering. Still, it shows early signs of the Jim Jarmusch's flair for deadpan humour and stark observation; required viewing for fans of his work.
March 13, 2013
Its the start of a lot of great work. It was a good and simple and while it is incredibly film school work, it is good film school work, especially for one who dropped out and went to paris to deliver paintings around. Jim is an artist and a good one at that. Worth a watch if you can stand a slow flick with little direction.
February 16, 2013
"Some people, you know, they - they can distract themselves with ambitions and motivation to work, you know, but not me." Those opening lines by the lead character were enough to suck me in and keep me glued to Jim Jarmusch's first (student) film. Suffers at points from slow pacing and loose dialogue but overall it's a drifting slacker's dream.
½ July 26, 2012
Personally, I was very enthralled by this film. The story isn't too great, and the theories narrated of the story aren't very unique. But, everything still manages to be interesting. This being Jim Jarmusch's first full-length feature, the thoughts are understandably not tied together as well as his next film "Stranger than Paradise", which is very well constructed. Things do become more developed as the film goes along, but it still has loose thoughts hanging throughout. This film shouldn't be considered a masterpiece, not even by big Jarmusch fans, but it should be regarded as a terrible film. I would say the one thing that really caught my attention was the visuals. Especially that last long shot. It's recommended for people who admire Jarmusch's work.
Super Reviewer
½ November 24, 2012
Jim Jarmusch's first film seem more experimental than major compared to his other films. Permanent Vacation shows of Jarmusch's cinematic expression with poetic nature and calm atomosphere. The story Follows a young man his views in life and the world he personally live in, full of likable scenarios and and self discovery. The pacing may be a bit slow, but it a small film with a lot of potential and really shows off what Jarmusch did before his more superior features. Recomended for those familiar with Jarmusch's films.
September 27, 2012
Haunting, I was entirely captured with this film. It stayed with me still after a few weeks of viewing. Could call it a mini-masterpiece. Jim Jarmusch is a great!
January 29, 2012
The sound was amateurish and the scenes were bland. I'd had enough after twenty minutes and turned it off.
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