Monday, August 08, 2005

Broken Flowers (***)

This is a great film that's hurt by a lazy, near catatonic performance by Bill Murray. The supporting cast is fantastic. Jeffrey Wright, Jessica Lange, Sharon Stone, and Frances Conroy all give superb character performances. I must admit though that I'm a bit disturbed by Bill Murray's acting in recent films. I feel like his subtle, less-is-more approach worked for the world weary characters in Rushmore, Lost in Translation, and Life Aquatic, but here, he barely registers as a human being. I didn't buy his performance for a minute. The movie gives us no reason why his character should be so downtrodden and withdrawn, and so it makes no sense why he should be acting that way. Further, he's supposed to be playing this Don Juan with the women, a man of many loves. It's disappointing because it zaps the movie of its otherwise ripe comic energy. Having said that, Broken Flowers does succeed despite Murray's performance, although I would have loved to see what Election/About Schmidt/Sideways director Alexander Payne could do with the material. I especially liked the ambiguous ending.


At 5:06 PM, Blogger Jeff said...

I'm not completely sure I agree with you about Bill Murray. I need to see it again. Jarmusch is a somewhat catatonic type himself. Maybe he wanted Murray to act the same way.


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