[Reel-Reviews] Broken Flowers (4 stars)
Jim Jarmusch’s direction is contemplative at best, but in this film it’s so laid back, it’s horizontal. Each scene seems to have about 15 seconds at the beginning and end just of unpeopled landscape/ environment shots. Indeed, there are entire scenes that just consist of Murray’s care-worn face staring into the camera or his silhouette contemplating the view. The film is gorgeously mellow and more than a little whimsical. Murray is perfect in the unenergetic and quirky lead role – and it’s one that he’s comfortably familiar with (cf The Life Aquatic, Lost in Translation).
It’s the story of Dan Johnston (a modern day Don Juan – “I was into computers, and women”) making a road trip around various exes who might or might not have sent him a anonymous pink letter informing him of the son that he never knew he had. His friend Winston has urged him to go and visit them to collect clues as to the sender and thus the mother. Don has no real life to speak of – a nice house, a string of beautiful exes, and every material need met – but no life. Everywhere you go there might or might not be (pink) clues as to the mother of his unknown son – a business card, a motorbike, a typewriter… His reliance on the kindness of and interaction with strangers sort of symbolizes the fact that he’s as comfortable, if not more so, with them as with anyone who actually knows or has known him.
A really confident and well-crafted film about need and want, the past and the future, hope and let-down…