Monday, December 11, 2006

Broken Flowers


Broken Flowers
Directed by; Jim Jarmusch, USA/France, 2005
Comedy / Drama, 106 min.
Distributed by: Nordisk Film

Story
An aging charmer, Don Johnston [Bill Murray], sits passively on the couch as his girlfriend Sherry [Julie Delphy] walks out the door in search of what she wants to make of life. Without interest Don just sits staring into nothingness until an anonymous mysterious pink letter tells him that he has a twenty something son who might be on the road trying to find him. With the aid of his next-door neighbour and friend Winston [Jeffrey Wright] he set’s off on a road trip though the states to visit lovers long lost to find out who could be the writer of the mysterious letter and the mother of his eventual son.

Me
A typical low key Jarmusch story that goes far with a fantastic performance from Murray, coming off almost like a blend of his character from Coffee and Cigarettes and Anderson’s Steve Zissou. I love the way he tries to play totally uninterested in the quest every time his friend Winston tries to get him activated, and the energy that he puts into it when Winston isn’t there. And the small details, like the checking out every young male that he sees after receiving the letter, and giving them a “could that be him” glance is brilliant. The photography by Jarmusch regular Frederic Elmes is wonderful; the colour scheme is somewhat pale, but still so deep that it looks amazing. The story is simple, one man on search of the woman who may have fathered his child, his search for meaning in his otherwise rather tepid life. But this is the simplicity that we have come accustomed to when you sit down to a Jarmusch film, a simplicity that is multifaceted and actually has more depth that meets the eye. No overacting, no out of place scenes, just a slow build as we investigate the human mind. There’s a wonderful play with Nabokov’s Lolita when past girlfriend, Laura’s [Sharon Stone] daughter Lolita [Alexis Dziena] playfully taunts Don and then shockingly walks into the room naked. Needless to say Don gets out of there in a flash of the eye. Every one of Don’s past girlfriends are played by high end actresses, like Sharon Stone, Julie Delphy, Jessica Lange, Frances Conroy and Tilda Swinton who looks amazing in her white trash outfit sporting a big black wig. I have to mention the supporting actors too, mainly Chloë Sevigny who manages to portray Lange’s lesbian lover/secretary with out even saying the word. Last but definately not least, Jeffrey Wright’s Winston, he's the kind of sympathetic friend that everyone would like to have, and I love the scene where he explains to his kids that he’s only smoking ‘erbs, and that there’s definitely not any tobacco in his cigarette that he’s secretively smoking behind the garage. Hilarious stuff.

The amazing soundtrack focusing mainly on Mulatu Astatqe’s Ethiopian Jazz (currently playing warm on my iPod and stereo at home) is a great addition, the smoothness and progressiveness of Tom Waite’s Night on Earth 1991 and Neil Young’s Dead Man 1995 scores springs to mind as the fair tones of Astatqe’s instrumental jazz just washes over the scenes interweaving the meetings with Murray’s former lovers without distracting anything from Jarmusch’s trademark formula. The road movie themes, the progressive soundtrack the low key acting, it’s all great stuff that will make this movie a beloved Jarmusch classic for the future.


Image:
Like mentioned previously, great looking film presented in 1.77:1 Anamorphic Widescreen

Audio:
Dolby Digital 5.1. Optional Swedish, Danish, Norwegian or Finnish subtitles.

Extras:
The crazy Start to Finnish, a fast paced collection of all the markers through out the entire movie interwoven with a few gags, and bloopers. A look at the outtakes of the two girls on the bus scene, where the two actors Jennifer Rapp & Nicole Abisinio adlib their way through a youthful discussion about life, friends and foes. A featurette on Jarmusch as he discusses his filmmaking and finally the domestic and international trailers for Broken Flowers.

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