Tuesday 18th January 2022

Broken Flowers (15)
Directed by: Jim Jarmusch
Reviewed by: Paul Fonz

Comedy legend Bill Murray (The Life Aquatic, Lost in Translation) returns to the screen to continue his trend of playing slightly depressed, slightly pathetic, old has-beens. This time he plays Don Johnston, not to be (but frequently) confused with Miami Vice star Don Johnson. Johnston is an over-the-hill Don Juan, whose life of flings and romances has left him with little happiness in his twilight years.

Don's womanising days aren't entirely behind him
Don's womanising days aren't entirely behind him

Nevertheless, things are at least relatively uncomplicated until a pink letter arrives one morning, informing him that he has a son. The letter has been typed on an old fashioned typewriter and has no signature or discernable postmark.

Luckily for Don, his friendly neighbour Winston is an aspiring amateur sleuth and quickly assembles an itinerary that sees Don travelling around the country to visit five former girlfriends and hunt for typewriter-shaped clues.

The downfall for this black comedy is without a doubt its unerringly slow pace. The first thirty minutes or so are taken up with explaining the above premise and once Murray hits the road, things do not speed up. Each scene is as sparsely laden with dialogue as it is action, giving you ample time to consider what the characters are thinking, what their motivations are, what they had for dinner, what you had for dinner and what you would do if you could have this hour and three quarters of your life back.

In fact you could squeeze the content of this film into half that time and in this case it would probably be better for it. The storyline of finding out which of Don's girlfriends is the mother of his child is little more than a loose wrapper and if you're expecting to have any answers by the end of the movie, you can forget it. It's not that sort of film. Instead, this is purely character-driven stuff in which the scriptwriter has forgotten to include any change or metamorphosis of the characters.

Murray's characteristically accomplished performance is the only thing stopping this film from sliding further down my points ranking, but even that is not enough to make watching it worthwhile. If you're really in need of some grown-up cinema this week, you'd be better off trying The Constant Gardener.

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Length: 106 minutes
Certificate: 15
Official Site:
IMDB Link:
Release Date: 21st October 2005

Top Five Rating: 40.0%40.0%40.0%40.0%40.0%40.0%40.0%40.0%40.0%40.0% (40.0%)
User Rating: 35.0%35.0%35.0%35.0%35.0%35.0%35.0%35.0%35.0%35.0% (35.0%)

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