Night On Earth This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   Writer-Director Jim Jarmusch is an independent filmmaker who has manufactured such off-beat, low budget wonders as "Stranger Than Paradise" and "Mystery Train." His latest film is "Night on Earth," a wonderful little movie that tells five individual stories of five taxi cabs, and their inhabitants, in five different cities around the world.

The first story takes place in Los Angeles. Winona Ryder plays a tomboy, grease monkey cab driver who picks up a rich, but down-to-earth woman at the executive terminal at the airport. The woman, played by veteran Gena Rowlands, turns out to be a casting agent. She finds Ryder's unique personality and dialect worthy of a Hollywood actress and offers Ryder fame and fortune. I won't give away the ending because you must see it to understand the moral.

The second cab installment takes place in New York City. This story first shows how difficult it is to find a cab to go to Brooklyn at 11 p.m. The man trying to get the cab is played by black actor Giancarlo Esposito. Esposito is finally picked up by German immigrant cab driver who has neither an idea how to operate a car nor any idea where he is going. Yo-Yo wants to get to Brooklyn, but the driver, played by Armin Mueller-Stahl, does not know how to get there, or even pronounce Brooklyn for that matter. Esposito agrees to stay in the cab on one condition: he gets to drive. Stahl is skeptical but finally agrees. On the way Yo-Yo spots his crazy sister-in-law, played by the ever-exuberant Rosie Perez. One of the points of this story is how easy it is to be able to drive a cab in New York.

The cab stories that take place in Paris and Helsinki are much too off-beat to try to explain in words, so I'll let you figure those out for yourself if you see the movie.

The final installment takes place in Rome. Even though the whole segment is spoken in Italian with English sub-titles, I can honestly say it the most hilarious piece of comic art I have witnessed. The cab driver, played by Italian Roberto Benignibegins with him reciting his sexually-oriented dialogue . He then picks up an Italian priest. While in the cab Benigni starts to confess his sins while he was going through puberty. The priest's reaction to these confessions is one of a fatal nature. This segment of the movie is the funniest because the speed of the Italian language adds to the already brilliant story line.

"Night on Earth" is a hilarious look at what taxi cab experiences are sometimes really like. Each of the stories is superbly written and the players deliver the dialogue beautifully. Jim Jarmusch is indeed a talented filmmaker and his work is something to be enjoyed thoroughly.

To add to its enjoyability, "Night on Earth" is presented in the wide screen letter-box format, so it is like you were viewing the movie in the theatre. GRADE: A




This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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