Coffee and Cigarettes (Jim Jarmusch, 2003)


Roberto Benigni (Roberto), Steve Buscemi (Waiter), Iggy Pop (Himself), Cate Blanchett (Herself, Shelly). Screenplay by Jim Jarmusch. Directed by Jim Jarmusch. Rating: 15. Running time: 95 minutes.

The best thing about Coffee and Cigarettes – apart from the ever-brilliant Cate Blanchett – is, unfortunately, its opening credits. That’ll seem like quite an insult when you see them, because admittedly they’re far from unconventional. But the song that plays as the names come up is undoubtedly hip, even reminding one of how wonderfully Reservoir Dogs had started to the sound of Little Green Bag. The expectations are raised further when the film then even begins in a similar vein to Tarantino’s debut, showing us mundane conversations between people as they sit talking over coffee in a cheap diner.

It’s a shame, then, that whilst mundane like Tarantino dialogue, the talk here isn’t also fun and interesting like his. It’s dull, even when delivered (again, similarly) by Steve Buscemi. All the vignettes that are compiled here are stupidly quiet, as is the humour that is evidently tried in every one and which might make the film mildly entertaining if you connect with it, but which otherwise makes it a real bore. The odd exchange gets closer than others at being even remotely worthwhile, but even at only 90 minutes, when put together the shorts collectively drag. It’s called Coffee and Cigarettes for a reason: those are the only two things, ultimately, that we watch the film’s characters consume. It indeed sounded arty and even extremely interesting, but before long all you’ll find yourself waiting for is the credits again – the ending ones.

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