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Wednesday, September 14, 2005

MOVIE REVIEW: Broken Flowers

Carol and I got to go to a movie again! Even when the movie is not so good, this is an enjoyasble time.

Let others make you wait to tell you what they thought of the thing they are reviewing; Broken Flowers is a wonderful movie. Poor Jim Jim Jarmusch seems practically traumatized that he has written and directed a "commercial" movie, after working on films such as Ghost Dog, and Coffee and Cigarettes.

This is a picture of reluctant discovery. Much has been made of Bill Murray's expressive face, and it's true that he conveys much in a haggard sigh. The film doesn't work without his pained perseverence.
But the biggest surprise for me was Jeffrey Wright - he was ocasionally laugh-out-loud FUNNY. I always associated him with heavier fare such as Angel in America (the play and the HBO production), Lackawanna Blues, and the remake of The Manchurian Candidate.
The women, Sharon Stone, Frances Conroy, Jessica Lange and an unrecognizable Tilda Swinton, and other supporting characters were all fine as well. And the ending!!

At some level, I may have enjoyed this film for three reasons that others may not share. Murray has a line about being a "stalker in a Taurus"; we have a Taurus. Murray was supposed to traveling all around the country, but the architecture and the roads suggest a more limited sojourn, much of which I revcognized as from south of Albany and north of New York City. And a young woman had a neighing hoorse on a plane; that was Paco, and I have a Paco myself.

My friend Mary also saw the film, "liked it, but didn't love it." She said, "I could relate to Bill's (fine) portrayal of depression and paralysis, but who needs it?" well, if he just stayed there, I'd agree, but there did seem to be some development in the character, in spite of himself. There was something else in the movie that she thought was "a bit much." (If you see the film, I THINK you'll figure out what she means.) I thought the point was that the character was in competition with another, and that she was taught to use whatever was at her disposal; it was so surprising that it worked for me.

Now, I must confess something: I didn't much like Lost in Translation, the award-winning film of 2003, which also starred Murray. Perhaps, it was built up in my mind too much, with all of the very positive reviews, but it just left me cold. So, I was wary of reviews that suggested that Murray was as good in Broken Flowers as he was in Lost in Tanslation. For whatever reasons, the newer film resonated more.

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