Broken Flowers (3/10)
by Tony Medley
Well, it’s probably unfair for
me to review this movie. When I went to the screening I was listening to
an audio book of “His Majesty, George Washington.” Unlike “Broken
Flowers,” the book is interesting.
As far as I’m concerned, “Lost
in Translation” (2003) was the worst thing that ever happened to Bill
Murray’s career. He was no great shakes as an actor before, but when
director Sofia Coppola got her hands on him and convinced him to show
absolutely no emotion, and when he got an Oscar nomination for what I
thought was an insipid performance, he apparently decided that was his
Here we have him again, totally
emotionless. Don Johnston (Murray) receives a typewritten letter with no
return address and no signature and no postmark, telling him he is the
father of an illegitimate baby born 20 years previously. His neighbor,
Winston (Meredith Patterson) is an amateur sleuth who encourages Don to go
see each of his four ex-girl friends at the time to see if the letter is
true or a hoax. So Don goes.
Writer-Director Jim Jarmusch
starts the film with a long tracking shot of a mailman delivering the
mail. We see him deliver it to one house and we follow him as he walks
quite a long way to Don’s house to deliver his mail. This slow,
uninvolving scene is an appropriate prelude to what follows.
Jarmusch gives us many shots of
Don sitting and thinking. Sorry, but I can’t call that compelling movie
We are asked to believe that
Don was a real stud. If so, women are more messed up than I thought. Don
has nothing (nothing visible, anyway) to offer anybody in a relationship.
He’s not particularly good looking and he’s got a personality that would
make a wall look like Robin Williams. Yet all the women with whom he has
been involved are attractive. Not only that, they appear to be 20 years
younger than Don. So if this affair was 20 years ago, they would have been
teenagers while Don was, what, 40?
If you liked Murray in “Lost in
Translation,” you’ll like this. If you are like me and you aren’t
enthralled by someone showing no emotion whatsoever, you won’t.
July 1, 2005