LA, 7.07 pm: chain-smoking Ryder gets movie agent Rowlands in the back of her cab, and inadvertently persuades her she'd be right for a role Rowlands is casting. At the very same time, taxi drivers across the world are also having seemingly inconsequential encounters with passengers: in New York, inept East German exile Müller-Stahl hands over the wheel to young black Esposito; in Paris, Ivory Coaster De Bankolé discusses sight and sex with blind, belligerent Dalle; in Rome, raving Benigni confesses a carnal past to priest Bonacelli; and in Helsinki, melancholy Pellonpää calms three drunks with a tale of infinite sadness. As ever with Jarmusch, as the five sequential stories proceed toward their unexpectedly poignant conclusion, there's a touch of the experimental at play; but it's also a film of great warmth. Character prevails throughout, and with the exception of a miscast Ryder, the performances are terrific. Though it may take a while to get Jarmusch's gist, hang in there; by the time Tom Waits growls his lovely closing waltz over the credits, Jarmusch has shown us moments most film-makers don't even notice.
Cast and crew
Isaach De Bankolé