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.