Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Retro Movie Review: "Broken Flowers"

Remember comedian Bill Murray? You know, the guy who was on SNL, in Stripes and Ghostbusters? Yeah, he doesn't exist anymore. In his place, is a new Bill Murray: the quiet, solemn actor who picks roles that seem to have his character as a sadsack, lost in his own life. We saw it in Lost In Translation and we see it in the 2005 film Broken Flowers.

In Broken Flowers, Murray plays Don, who hates it when people call him Don Juan, but he is one: he loves girls, but he isn't flirty. He just seems to latch onto one or two, loves them for a short period of time, then he or they leave him. When his latest girlfriend leaves him, he can't even muster up the emotional heft to make it seem like he is affected by it. Of course, coinciding with his girlfriend leaving, he finds a letter, unsigned, saying he has a 19 year-old son from a previous relationship.

For about a quarter of the movie, Murray's character, speaking softly and often remaining still, debates with a more animated friend over whether or not to seek out the mother of his rumored son. Don does not know whether or not he actually has a son or who the mother may be (he dated some 5 women back then). Eventually, he drags himself to visit all five of them (one of them is dead). Of course, being a low-key, independent movie, things don't go so well (or so exciting). Much like Vincent Gallo's The Brown Bunny, there are long scenes of Murray just driving.

That's not to say the movie isn't good, it certainly has its moments and is well made. I am just a little bored of these character study roles that Murray has been taking lately. In fact, I am a little bored of most independent movies, with a big-name lead actor, taking the character study approach. About Schmidt is another good example of a big name (in that case, Jack Nicolson) just slogging through the movie. And typically, these movies never end on an up note, it has to end on a down note, cause that's how life is.

Anyways, the movie is fine for what it is, with some good performances by Sharon Stone (not being crazy!) and Tilda Swinton (actually looking normal for a change!). Nill Murray does a fine job in a what is basically another twist on his role in LiT.

2 1/2 Pink Flowers out of 5.

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Blogger David McIntyre said...

We need a movie with Bill Murray and Zach Braff. A grand culmination of despondence. They can just stand there mumbling for fifty minutes, and then anyone who was too lazy to get up a leave the theater gets treated to a half hour of awesome comedy now that they've both got it out of their systems.

4:40 AM  

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