Broken Flowers review

:. Director: Jim Jarmusch
:. Starring: Bill Murray, Sharon Stone
:. Script: Jim Jarmusch
:. Running Time: 1:45
:. Year: 2005
:. Country: USA
:. Official Site: Broken Flowers

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Jim Jarmusch has fun and his pleasure is contagious. An eccentric comedy, Broken Flowers throws a seductive 50-something on the road after he learns of his paternity via a letter. This certified Don Juan, assisted by a neighbor with a passion for police detectives, launches into an investigation with some introspection along the way. His old conquests lead him to put his comfortable but solitary existence into perspective. Bill Murray, the sad clown, portrays a hieratic character who, like a good wine, has aged well. His face registers the most subtle emotions onscreen. It's due to the great force of his acting that he ranks among the greatest.

An excellent director of actors, Jarmusch offers a prestigious cast for his road movie. The women whom our hero loved are full of complexes, with a certain tendency towards bulimia and self-destruction. While searching for his old flames, our passive hero measures how time has passed: the hippie has transformed herself into rigid psycho WASP, a widow raises a Lolita (besides, that's her first name!). Paradoxically, the one who weighs the most is absent, dead and buried — a metaphor about our hero's capacity to deal with the living.

With consummate humor, from beginning to end Jarmusch uses oversymbolic elements to advance his droll existential search: from the typewriter used to draft the letter on pink paper, a dressing gown of the same color or the photograph of a black dog which bears the same name as his dedicated neighbor. Mac guffins abound here, serving as threads to an incongruous investigation. Everything makes so much sense that in the end nothing makes sense. The signs proliferate, are scrambled, are lost. Jarmusch seems to have fun here with the auteur approach, which via metaphors, tries to make sense of each shot.

Intelligent, his comedy doesn't lack charm but quickly touches the limits faced with a more ambitious objective: to show the story of a country through its society. Light, his goal does not reach the desired level to produce a discourse on the United States. True, the director plants his camera in various social backgrounds, like many portraits of contemporary America. Nevertheless, lightness carries it. This endearing comedy would have gained so much more had the perfume of its broken flowers been more poisonous.


  Sandrine Marques
  Translated into English by Anji Milanovic


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