BROKEN FLOWERS

Starring:
Bill Murray, Jeffrey Wright, Julie Delpy, Sharon Stone, Frances Conroy, Tilda Swinton, ChloŽ Sevigny, Alexis Dziena and Jessica Lange

Writer/Director:
Jim Jarmusch

Running Time:
106 mins

Out to buy on DVD 31/01/06 (Region 1) and 20/03/06 (Region 2)

"Do you have children?"

Confirmed bachelor Don Johnston (Murray) has just been left by his latest conquest but the day after she leaves he receives a mysterious pink letter saying that he has a son he never knew he had. The only problem is that there is no signature. Don thinks it is a prank but his best friend and neighbour Winston (Wright) comes up with plan. Don should visit all of his old girlfriends old enough to have a teenage son.

The combination of writer/director Jim Jarmusch and star Bill Murray seems like a dream team but can 'Broken Flowers' live up to these heady expectations?

Writer/director Jim Jarmusch has always produced movies that have been intriguing and very characters based. With films like 'Night on Earth', 'Coffee and Cigarettes', 'Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai' and 'Dead Man', Jarmusch proves to be a great writer of characters and dialogue as well as creating intriguing premises for his characters. 'Broken Flowers' is no different.

Imagine a letter turning up saying that you had a son or daughter that you knew nothing about but they letter was unsigned, you couldn't help but be intrigued could you? A confirmed bachelor Don Johnston receives such a letter but he really doesn't want to look into it. This all changes we his best friend and neighbour Winston hears of his dilemma. He sees this as a mystery that needs solving and hatches a plan for Don to find out who the mystery mother is and meet his son. With a full antennary, Winston has booked flights, hire cars and motels for him to travel the country and visit the women who could possibly be the mother. A brilliant premise you might agree and for the most part it is executed superbly but it has its problems.

For the most part the film is extremely good. Don's journey is both extremely funny and in parts quite touching as he comes to terms with the possibility of been a father. Some of his rendezvous' are better than others but each of them is extremely well written and beautifully acted. The big disappointment comes in the final act as Don tries to come to terms with the results of his journey with no real resolution.

Bill Murray continues to choose extremely interesting projects for him to really test his talents. While he might still do the odd Hollywood moneymaker, he still tends to make the films that he wants to make and ones that really suit his acting style. As Don Johnston, he is his usual laidback self and of course he is unintentionally funny. Bill Murray can show more comedic talent in just a look than most comic actors working in Hollywood today.

His support is also first rate. Jeffrey Wright is suitably kooky as best friend and neighbour Winston, who lives his life through Don. Then there are the women. Sharon Stone, Tilda Swinton, Julie Delphi, Frances Conroy and Jessica are superb as Don's exes, each of them suitably different and extremely quirky in their own way. You also have some excellent support from an eye catching Alexis Dziena and an extremely protective ChloŽ Sevigny.

'Broken Flowers' is a movie with a fantastic premise and great performances but the lack of a satisfying conclusion means that the film just isn't as good as you might have been expecting. There is still a lot to enjoy here but you can't help thinking that this could have been a classic.

PICTURE & SOUND

Presented in Widescreen 1.85:1 Anamorphic with a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack, the transfer is good.

BONUS FEATURES

Girls on the Bus (1.42 mins)
The girls on the bus adlib as they talk about hair, makeup and boys while the director decides which to use in the movie.

Broken Flowers: Start to finish (7.40 mins)
Watch the adlibs, comments and gags that happened before the clapper fell. Highlights include many a gag from Bill Murray, as we see them from the start to the finish of the film.

Farmhouse (4.19 mins)
Writer/director Jim Jarmusch talk about the look and feel of the movie, his feelings about the film and the preparation Don's women went through to prepare. This is accompanied by behind the scenes from the filming of the movie.

Original Theatrical Trailer (2.08 mins)
Watch the promotional trailer for the movie.

Trailers
Previews of 'Brokeback Mountain', 'Brick' and 'The Constant Gardener'

OVERALL

The DVD extras for 'Broken Flowers' are far too short and not informative enough for fans of the film to get the most out of them. The lack of a commentary track is also amiss making this a very average bonus feature presentation.

DVD

Coffee and Cigarettes

Night on Earth


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2005