Broken Flowers – Review

Worth seeing: for Bill Murray's laconic and laid-back performance in a charming episodic odyssey that takes Jim Jarmusch dangerously close to the mainstream
Director:Jim Jarmusch
Featuring:Bill Murray, Chloë Sevigny, Frances Conroy, Jeffrey Wright, Jessica Lange, Julie Delpy, Sharon Stone, Tilda Swinton
Length:106 minutes
Certificate:15
Country:US
Released:21st October 2005

WHAT’S IT ABOUT?

Don (Bill Murray) is an introverted IT millionaire, contemplating the unexpected departure of his young French girlfriend, Sherry (Julie Delpy).

His attention is diverted by an unsigned, pink letter in the post, in which one of his former girlfriends, from two decades earlier, tells him they had a son together.

He’s moderately intrigued, but happy to let it lie, until his overenthusiastic, mystery-loving frustrated-P.I. neighbour Winston (Jeffrey Wright) plans a nationwide trip – down to the flights, hotels and even the music for the car – so that he can revisit his past.

WHAT’S IT LIKE?

Anyone who’s grown to like Bill Murray’s desert-dry, laid back demeanour will enjoy another “Lost in Translation” style performance. The joy of watching him is in what he doesn’t do or say, rather than what he does.

As the story unfolds, one by one, we meet his ex-lovers – now ranging from wealthy to trailer-trash and with jobs as varied as an estate agent and an animal communicator.

The episodes vary between understated and frenetic, and each one has the kind of surreal edge you’d expect from Jim Jarmusch.

And anyone who knows Jarmusch’s work should know that as well as expecting fully rounded performances that betray variously the charm, enthusiasm, confusion and discomfort of the characters, they certainly shouldn’t expect an ending.

But that doesn’t matter…although it sets itself up as a mystery, the resolution – or otherwise – of Don’s quest is nothing like as important as his journey.

Jarmusch and Murray fans will love it. Enthusiasts of well made Independent American movies generally will love most of it. Most other people won’t have a clue what to make of it.