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Thursday, April 24, 2014

Movie Spotlight: Broken Flowers (2005)

I watched Dead Man a couple of months back, and I noticed that Jim Jarmusch is an artsy director, and usually I like artsy. I wasn't a huge fan of Dead Man though. It was good, and I liked the uniqueness, but I couldn't think of a time I would ever watch it again. I saw that Jarmusch is coming out with another movie this month, Only Lovers Left Alive, that stars Tom Hiddleston and Tilda Swinton. I have to say I'm very excited for the movie, but the best way to know what to expect is to watch more movies from this director, and then I happened upon Broken Flowers.

Summary: Don Johnston is a serial bachelor who hasn't ever wanted to commit to anyone long term. After his last girlfriend leaves him in frustration he gets a note left for him from one of his past girlfriends disclosing that he has a son who is now on a road trip. Don isn't interesting in exploring this any further, or is he? With the encouragement and pressure from his friend, Winston, Don is set up with a map, rental, and plane tickets to find out who is the mother who sent the letter.


Acting: Bill Murray is in one of the best roles I've seen him in as Don. There is something about Don that portrays the still immature side of him well, but also shows age and growth as well. Murray performance is very quiet, and builds off his usual humor, but he seems to be giving a lot more emotionally to this role than usual. Jeffrey Wright is Winston, and honestly pretty funny. He works well as the friend, and their dialogue flows well when they have conversations. There are many women in this movie as Don has dated a lot of women, but there are some who will stick out more in performance than others. Sharon Stone is Dora, the first women from his past that he visits. Stone portrays the delicacy of her character well, while also showing a woman who has struggled on her own for a while. She seems to give the character the most story, for such a little bit of time. Jessica Lange is Dr. Carmen, and she was another who was intriguing in her few on screen moments as well. Tilda Swinton makes an appearance as Penny, and I can guarantee for most it's Swinton as you haven't seen her before. There is also Frances Conroy as Laura, but I felt her performance was the most odd, and least memorable of everyone showing up.

Filming: As you watch more of Jarmusch's films you begin picking on the style instantly. He is a very simple director who barely relies on even transitioning shots in any catchy way. He uses a fade in and fade out for each scene, but it does add something to the film, and it gives him his own style. He doesn't have to be in your face to have some trademarks in his movies.

Plot: I really enjoyed the plot, and I found in a world of where plots seem to be much of the same, this one was unique. Unlike many other Jarmusch movies it doesn't seem to have the strange plot as well like Dead Man. Instead it tries to follow what seems more like a normal guy. There are some oddities along the way though, but in some ways that is what makes the movie funny. Admitting, I would love to have had a bit more closure by the end of the movie though, but I don't know why I expected that.

Broken Flowers is one that is more available to people who aren't fans of Jarmusch's other works. It's less weird, and it follows more of a normal plot line. It still has it's moments where it feels slow though, but I think that is more from Jarmusch's refusal to liven up a movie in any way, and keep it very dead pan all the way through. Murray though is worth watching for.

Rating 8 of 10.


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