Broken Flowers (2005)

Genre(s): Drama
Focus Features || R - 106 minutes - $29.98 || January 3rd, 2006
Reviewer: Brian Oliver || Posted On: 2006-01-23


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

A U D I O &
.:: V I D E O ::.

Audio and Video

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: Jim Jarmusch
Writer(s): Jim Jarmusch (written by)
Cast: Bill Murray, Jeffrey Wright, Sharon Stone, Frances Conroy, Jessica Lange, Tilda Swinton, Julie Delpy


Theatrical Release Date: August 5th, 2005


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • Girls on the Bus
  • Broken Flowers: Start to Finish
  • Farmhouse
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Soundtrack Information


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Widescreen (1.78)
  • English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish

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.::THE FILM::.

IMAGE

Plot Outline (from DVD back cover): Bill Murray (Lost in Translation) stars in the comedic story of an agin Don Juan who hits the road on a revealing and humorous cross-country journey. When a mysterious pink letter informs Don Johnston (Murray) that he may have a 19-year-old son, he visits four-former lovers, where he comes face to face with the errors of his past and the possibilities of the future.

"Well, the past is gone, I know that. The future isn't here yet, whatever it's going to be. So, all there is, is this. The present. That's it."

Even though Broken Flowers is not my favorite movie of '05, it certainly connected on an emotional level than any of other movie. What starts out as a mystery to find a son, turns into a journey of self-reflection that makes this drama unique in my mind.

2003's Lost in Translation is one of my favorites of not only that year, but all-time; and though Broken Flowers doesn't reach that level of impact, it does resemble some elements of Translation as well as Sideways. Both films are not your typical Hollywood drama. Neither have endings that'll satisfy the masses used to seeing dramas with the usual death or reconciliation endings, but instead movies like Lost in Translation, Sideways and now Broken Flowers go against the grain and do it well.

Normally, I cringe at some of these independent pictures that know they are. These are movies that have unusual, non-mainstream endings not because it's needed for the journey their characters have taken, but because it's expected. Thankfully, Broken Flowers is not in that group. Yeah, some may complain, but the conclusion director Jim Jarmusch (Coffee & Cigarettes) has taken was the right one.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

With a movie like that is so ambiguous, I'd hope from a commentary from the director or producers, but, like Murray's whisper to Johansson at the end of Lost in Translation, some things should be left as is rather than someone TELLING you what it is. That said, I still expected more in terms of extra material, but what's there is all right.

Girls on the Bus - This is merely an extended scene with the two teenage chicks riding on the bus, commenting on the cuteness of the guy sitting near them. The two, as most teens do, jabber on about random topics I didn't care to keep track of.

Broken Flowers: Start to Finish - Features tons of clapboards taking us from take to take in the movie with the occasional (though too few) stoppage for outtakes from Murray and the rest. I would've preferred a full outtakes feature, but seeing Murray on set was still fun to watch.

Farmhouse - Director Jarmusch -- in what sounds like a phone-in interview -- talks about making the movie and explains why he doesn't like to revisit his movies or watch them with a paying audience. His comments are composed over footage from the farmhouse set as the actors get ready to shoot.

Also included is the theatrical trailer (a feature left off most releases today) and soundtrack information. I absolutely recommend buying the soundtrack for the opening credit song alone.



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

IMAGE

The picture is presented in its original 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen and, overall, looks fine. Having never seen any of Jarmusch's other films, I don't know how they compare with this but the colors are soft and even during the dark moments, the visuals still stand out.

The Dolby Digital 5.1 mix is the only available track offered and sounds very good. Since it is a drama with little or no action, you don't need much out of the sound other than to clearly hear the vocals, which come from the center channel. The most notable use of the sound comes from the music starting with a great opening title sequence to the Ethiopian songs throughout.



.::OVERALL::.

Broken Flowers is surprisingly poetic, melancholy and bittersweet (or whatever your favorite critical $2 word is). Bill Murray turns in yet another great performance that is worthy of an Oscar nomination and add in a solid supporting cast including Jeffrey Wright (as the CSI-wannabe neighbor), Sharon Stone, Jessica Lange and Tilda Swinton. Flowers is not a movie for everyone. Many will find it boring and those who are into it, might not like how it ends. But, if your taste bends towards the likes of Lost in Translation or Sideways, you can give Broken Flowers a try.