Night on Earth | Chicago Reader

Night on Earth

Jim Jarmusch creates a comic sketch film (1991) out of five taxi rides and existential encounters occurring at the same time: a teenager (Winona Ryder) driving a Hollywood casting agent (Gena Rowlands) in Los Angeles at dusk; a former circus clown from Dresden (Armin Mueller-Stahl) chauffeuring—or being chauffeured by—a streetwise hipster (Giancarlo Esposito) from Manhattan to Brooklyn, with the hipster's sister-in-law (Rosie Perez) getting corralled en route; an angry driver from the Ivory Coast (Isaach de Bankole) picking up a self-reliant blind woman (Beatrice Dalle) in Paris; a speedy cabbie (Roberto Benigni) in Rome delivering an obscene confession to an ailing priest; and a morose driver in Helsinki recounting a hard-luck story to three drunken passengers at dawn. There's a fair amount of craft and subtlety in the results, though a certain sense that Jarmusch is replaying his own golden oldies (Tom Waits is in charge of the score) is never very far away. R, 129 min.

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