DVD Review: Broken Flowers
Release Date: January 3, 2006
Distributor: Focus Features
· Jim Jarmusch
· Bill Murray
· Jeffrey Wright
· Sharon Stone
· IMDb: Broken Flowers
by Alex Keen
Published: January 24, 2006
The easiest way to describe "Broken Flowers" is low key. From writer/director Jim Jarmusch, the film explores the comedy of revisiting relationships long forgotten. It does so with a quiet sense of humor often abandoned by mainstream filmmaking.
"Broken Flowers" starts off with the end of a relationship, and the beginning of a mystery. Bill Murray's character, Don Johnston, is described as an aged Don Juan. He's a lifelong bachelor who's world is altered when he finds out he has a 20-year-old son. With the help of his neighbor Winston, played by Jeffrey Wright, Don sets out to find the mother of his son and delves into relationships' past.
Jarmusch is a director known for his dry, sometimes unnoticeable, sense of humor and irony. Paired with Bill Murray's quiet delivery, this movie is one of the best deadpan funny flicks of the year. If you'd rather enjoy a smart comedy than a broad comedy, "Broken Flowers" should be a good fit.
While Murray does spectacular work here, he is overshadowed by Wright's scene stealing. Wright is best known for his dramatic work, but here he proves he has excellent timing and when paired with Murray, the movie is delightfully smart. This is an actor destine for great things and it's great to see that he is well rounded.
Also making great turns in this film are Sharon Stone and Julie Delpy. While Frances Conroy's performance garnered the highest critical praise, I preferred Stone's. Stone could have easily overacted as usual, but she came across as bizarrely grounded within a ridiculous situation. It's not easy to play a whore character for heart, and Stone earns my respect.
Overall, this is not a comedy for fans of burning bags of poo or ejaculating bulldogs. "Broken Flowers" is one of my favorite Jarmusch movies and one of 2005's best because it is not easy and it doesn't do what might be expected. If you enjoy a complicated character study steeped in minimalism, this should be your next choice.
The extra features on this single disc release are sparse but well done. I would never expect a prolonged commentary from Jarmusch, so the audio clip that is included fits the bill. He explains in detail how he views his own work, and how we the audience should interpret it. The one deleted scene is irrelevant, but is fortunately trumped by a behind the scenes feature that is a unique treat.