Saturday, 2 April 2011

Broken Flowers

One for the Bill Murray Elite

Lover: Taken from IMDB
“I am a film studies student fortunate enough to be at the Cannes Festival and somehow fenangled my way into the premiere of Broken Flowers, in fact sitting in the aisle diagonal to Jim, Bill Murray, Tilda Swinton, and Julie Deply. The movie was utterly satisfying for me. I had an avid fear that it would end up ANOTHER Bill Murray movie, which is practically a genre in and of itself these days, although Jarmusch already reinvigorated his classic demeanor in Coffee and Cigarettes. Much to my relief, Broken Flowers provides many a moment for Murray to shine, for it is truly a film centered around him. It is more of a return to Jarmusch's earlier films, rather than the second round of linked stories like Mystery Train and Night on Earth or the play with genre of the latter works. Unlike Stranger than Paradise or Down By Law, however, the focus is not on a trio but one man, which opens the door for more detailed character development than Jarmusch is normally willing to give. I don't want to say that it is his most accessible work, but a more mature and developed one. It has the most structured storyline to date but as usual, Jarmusch always remains restrained. Jeffrey Wright is a delight, and Swinton is unrecognizable. The scene between Murray, Frances Conroy (what a treat for a Six Feet Under Fan) in particular received applause from the crowd, as did the film as a whole. In many ways the film reminded me of About Schmidt, particularly the ending, but was much more minimal and appealing to all ages. The soundtrack, an ethiopoan musician's take on spy music, added a great touch and the whimsical play with mystery and clues is continuously weaved throughout. There is no closure, no emotional overtow, and no real payoff, but the film is very well crafted. I am still trying to articulate it and incredibly sleep deprived but feel free to contact me with any questions. I saw that no one had posted yet and i thought that as a complete Jarmusch dork, I should extend my knowledge. Later I'll actually provide a good review.”

He puts himself down for what Is a great review, great knowledge of this particular film maker and knows where the films faults lie’s as well it’s good points

Hater: Taken from IMDB

“Bill Murray plays an ageing Lothario, a formerly successful businessman (though from the dullard we see it's hard to believe) with enough money that he doesn't need to work, who consequently lives a pointless and empty life. One day he's contacted by an old girlfriend who tells him that the son he never knew he had might just turn up on his doorstep. Not knowing who sent the letter, he sets out to visit four possible candidates. After we've been invited to sneer at each of them in turn – their absurd jobs, their empty lives – he is back home, not knowing which one sent the letter, whether it was actually sent by a more recent girlfriend as a prank, or even whether a young man who's just arrived in town might be his son. The film's message seems to be that unless you're, say, an independent film-maker named Jim Jarmusch, your so-called life is a pointless waste of which you ought to be embarrassed. This kind of cheap and lazy nihilism is just so boring, and the non-ending suggests that even Jarmusch couldn't be bothered with it any more. This film is designed to impress the kind of people who assume that any film without obvious interest or appeal must therefore be "arty". No, it's just tedious, flabby, self-indulgent and a waste of the talent of Bill Murray, who might as well have been replaced by a waxwork for most of it.”
I think that is a fair point here, for all its indie trademarks it doesn’t really make any clear point. This can make for it a bit of a dull experience, however I personally think the comedy carries the whole film. It’s all down to Bill Murray’s trademark deadpan performance and his reaction to characters that are slightly larger than life.

What I thought:

Broken Flowers is at first an intriguing fun mystery movie where Bill Murrays past his prime Lothario is searching for his son he never knew he had. It develops well and everything slots into place, watching Murray react to what’s going on around him whether it be with a hint of melancholy (that has been a standard of recent Bill Murray films) or his dry wit is the best thing about the film. Coming into the final third however you realise all is not as it seems, you start to realise that the story will not be fully resolved. This is what spoils Broken Flowers, as you are given possibilities but no real answers.

The result of that is no real emotional payoff for a character you invested time in watching, not just that but a character that despite some terrible misogynistic character traits is very likable (What Bill Murray characters isn’t?). It’s a real shame and does spoil the film quite a bit, as the film ticks over the directing is simple, the soundtrack is indie by the numbers and every other role is played with enough gusto, enough to give Murray funny material and as many facial expressions as he likes.

Maybe it’s the fact that I’m quite easy to shock when it comes to films (years of watching blockbusters have made me forget what can shock) but there is one scene in Broken Flowers that always stick is my mind. The full frontal shot of who must only surely be a barely legal teen girl, I mean I failed to see the point of this shot and it’s so totally out of the blue that it almost made me jump and look away from the screen. I’m all for nudity if it serves the picture but I failed to see how it served Broken Flowers, though I’m sure the director does.

So I might be a bit of a prude but you are the judge, I’m a big fan of Bill Murray and that alone is a good enough reason to watch Broken Flowers.

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"Films are Loved, Films are hated. I'm here to help you decide where you stand..." I also do web work including a good knowledge of HTML, ASP, using the adobe web package and a strong understanding of SEO, Google Analytics.