1.09.2007

QUICKIE: Broken Flowers (Jim Jarmusch, 2007)

The desperately contemplative Don Johnston (Bill Murray) is haunted by his nickname, Don Juan. As his current girlfriend (Julie Delpy) leaves him, a mysterious letter arrives in the mail, announcing that he has a son. With the insistent help of his neighboor (Jeffrey Wright), he will visit every woman who could potentially be the letter's author. A variety of undeservedly lesser-known actresses (Tilda Swinton, Jessica Lange, Frances Conroy and Sharon Stone), Christopher McDonald, Pell James and Chloe Sevigny among others come together to give flavor to this proud, independent film.
At first, I felt like I was watching someone play The Sims. Character goes here, character performs action. Character goes there, character performs action. Things did start to pick up as the simple storyline moved along, however, and I found myself sufficiently entertained. Jarmusch, with the help of Murray's deathly sober acting, made me laugh at reality. It's always nice to see a film that relies very little on the improbable (even when dealing with the most trivial of matters) and presents life as it actually, probably is.

For being my first Jarmusch film, I didn't notice anything eclectic or outstanding about the filmmaking, but there was one quality in the film's structure that I found intriguing - Rather than spend too much time developing the multitude of characters, Jarmusch instead leaves it up to the audience's own experience to discern how they feel about each new person by relying heavily on the exteriors (and occasionally interiors) of their homes.

Having been released in a very recent age when the 'indie' was overly 'in', Broken Flowers finds its own footing and provides a unique film experience. If you've got a slow evening ahead and want to watch something that's calm yet retains a good entertainment value, check it out!

2 comments:

  1. Recovered comment posted by JR on January 12th, 2007:

    I've never seen a jarmusch film either and I've been meaning to see this for a long time. And I'm totally with you on the undeservedly lesser-known actresses. Especially Jessica Lange - she has two Oscars for God's sake!

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  2. Recovered comment posted by Tom Stoup on January 13th, 2007:

    It definitely wasn't a bad introduction to Jarmusch... I liked it but it also makes me think that he's probably done much better work in the past that I have to look forward to.

    Lange's great! I can't believe she fell out of the spotlight so easily. I think the thing she's most recognized as now is the woman Jason Schwartzman ogled in I Heart Huckabees, and even that's obscure.

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