Monday, February 4, 2008

Broken Flowers

"Broken Flowers" (Jim Jarmusch, 2005) Don Johnston ("You're Don Johnson?!" "No. With a 'T'") is in a funk. A computer millionaire, he has no energy for anything. No desire. No drive. Certainly no energy for his girlfriend who walks out on him at the beginning of the film. In other words, he's Bill Murray's usual grown-up slacker, but without the savage wit. Murray may be the best conveyor of malaise since "Buster" Keaton was drummed out of the talkies. Adding to his girl-friend's anger, he has just recieved a pink envelope addressed in red ink from an old girl-friend, who warns him that the son he never knew existed is looking for him. It's a mystery,a nd he wants no part of it. But it's a "clue" to his mystery-buff neighbor (Jeffrey Wright) who sets up an elaborate scavenger hunt with four of his "passed ships" as the check-points (and they are Sharon Stone-really good, Frances Conroy, Jessica Lange, and an unrecognizable Tilda Swinton). It's a bit like Ulysses on an Odyssey of old battlefields. But he's a reluctant Ulysses and never too sure what to say to the women, but the object of his quest is his son. And by the end of the film, his world has been opened up, or at least there are more opportunities for him to get into trouble.

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