Jim Jarmusch is a talented filmmaker, and if you like independent cinema his work should be familiar to you(Coffee and Cigarettes, Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai, Stranger Than Paradise, and Dead Man to name a few). Broken Flowers is the newest Jarmusch film brought to you by Focus Features.
Bill Murray is Don Johnston—a regular, yet over-the-hill Don Juan. He made his money in computers, yet doesn’t own one of his own. His neighbor, Winston, is an aspiring Sam Spade with three jobs and five children. His girlfriends are numerous.
One day, a pink letter arrives with no return address, no signature, and an unreadable postmark. The red writing tells Don that a former girlfriend, with whom he hasn’t spoken to in 20 years, has a son—his son—who may be looking for him at that very moment.
Winston has Don list his girlfriends from that time so that he can organize a real-life investigation. Unenthusiastically, Don sets off—equipped with plane tickets, an itinerary, and maps to the women’s homes.
Don visits the women, armed with pink flowers, in an attempt to find clues and discover the identity of the mother of his supposed child.
Each woman proves to be interesting in very different ways. They definitely make you wonder at what might have been the initial attraction between Don and these former flings. And each woman has strange intricacies that lead you to believe that they might be the woman in question.
Broken Flowers, like much of Jarmusch’s work, is fun and maddening at the same time. It is more a glimpse at Don than any action. And it is, therefore, somewhat slow and boring. But the charm behind this film is in the details. Minimalist in its approach, the small things are truly what come to life.
Written for Bill Murray, it is no wonder that this silent comedian connects with Don. Every silent movement, every deadpan expression, every slight intonation is spot on in his delivery.
The cinematography is beautiful, thanks to Frederick Elmes (Kinsey, The Hulk, Eraserhead). Never lighting for glamorous results, there exists a quality to the film like that of a painting. Elmes shoots this film in a way that allows the roughness around the edges of each actor to show and make them all the more real. It’s a good combination to throw at editor Jay Rabinowitz (Requiem For A Dream), who really lets Jarmusch’s rhythm shine through.
Beginning with one question and ending with another, Broken Flowers is a film that makes you think. Check out the trailer and go see the movie.