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Broken Flowers
2005 - R - 106 Mins.
Director: Jim Jarmusch
Producer: Jim Jarmusch
Written By: Jim Jarmusch
Starring: Bill Murray, Sharon Stone, Frances Conroy, Julie Delpy, Jeffrey Wright
Review by: Joe Rickey
Official Site:

Perpetual boredom: Murray's one facial expression for all situations
Telling the story of a man named Don Johnston (Bill Murray) who embarks on a cross-country journey to discover who the mother is of a child he never knew he had, 'Broken Flowers' is one dull and listless motion picture. If I did not say that it was not only one of this year's most disappointing, but also one of this year's worst movies, I would be lying.

The first and foremost problem with 'Broken Flowers' is that it just seemed very pointless with its intentions and was moving to nowhere most of the time. None of Don's encounters with his previous girlfriends impressed me. Funnily enough, there was one scene in this movie that I found outstanding and that actually touched me. It was the scene when Bill Murray lays down the flowers on the grave of his dead ex-girlfriend and sits down next to it with slight tears in his eyes. It was probably the only emotionally involving scene in the entire movie. All the other ones seemed pretty dull and hollow, especially given how little actual character development is present in what one would think is a character-driven piece.

Moreover, having seen 'Lost in Translation and 'The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou', I must say that I am not a big fan of Murray's being so deadpan and otherwise inert with his facial expressions. Far from coming across as great acting, it appears forced, as if he realizes he has a new schtick that he can use again and again. So many scenes in this movie seem just to be space-fillers, like minute-long shots of Murray driving a car and so on. Pretentious comes to mind often while viewing this film. A positive aspect of the film, though, was its music, mostly because it consists of a wide array of tunes not unlike one might find in a Cameron Crowe film.

Out of the rest of the cast, the only one who made a good impression on me was Frances Conroy ('Shopgirl') as Dora, the ex-hippie. The rest was pretty bland altogether. Just like the movie itself. Jeffrey Wright ('Syriana') was decent as Winston and provided a few laughs in this movie which, considering it's a dramedy, had neither enough comedy nor enough drama in it to be a satisfying experience. There was lots of potential and almost none of it was satisfactorily explored.

Don't even get me started concerning the ending. I am not against abrupt endings like in 'Sideways' or 'A History of Violence', but this one definitely did not seem of the kind that would need an ending that essentially leaves one befuddled. It is the type of ending where one wonders if they ran out of film stock and thus threw together an ending at the last minute. One cannot explain how frustrating this tactic comes across in this instance.

Jim Jarmusch has been a hit/miss for me so far and this one continues the trend. I despised 'A Night on Earth', but loved 'Ghost Dog.' 'Broken Flowers' is definitely not as bad as 'A Night on Earth,' but doesn't even come close to the lyrical quality present in 'Ghost Dog.' As such then, one need only check out 'Broken Flowers' if they consider themselves a Jarmusch devotee and even then one may be left wondering as to the point of what they have just watched.
Movie Guru Rating
A train wreck.  So bad some may find it unintentionally entertaining.
  1 out of 5 stars

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