DVD Review HTF REVIEW: Broken Flowers (RECOMMENDED)

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Steve Tannehill, Feb 12, 2006.

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  1. Steve Tannehill

    Steve Tannehill Ambassador

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    XenForo Template  Broken Flowers Studio: Focus Features / Universal Studios Home Video Year: 2005 (2006 Release) Rated: R (Language, Some Graphic Nudity, Brief Drug Use) Aspect Ratio: 1.78x1, enhanced for 16x9 displays Audio: English DD 5.1 Captions/Subtitles: English SDH; French and Spanish Subtitles Time: 1:45:34 Disc Format: SS/DL (DVD-9) Case Style: Keep Case The Feature: Don Johnston (Bill Murray) is a modern day Don Juan, whose latest girlfriend just dumped him. Before he even has a chance to sheath his sword, he gets an anonymous letter on pink stationery, telling him that one of his romances from 20 years ago has yielded a 19-year-old son. The son may be on a quest to find his father. Have you ever had one of those days? Don's well-intending neighbor Winston (Jeffrey Wright) has an idea that Don should try to find out who wrote the letter. Winston cooks up a half-baked (ahem) plot to send Don to all of his former girlfriends from that era, to bring them pink flowers to gauge their reaction, and to check for a typewriter that might have been the source of the letter. Don is reluctant. He would be content curled up on the couch in the dark, listening to slow, classical music were it not for the intrusions and insistence of Winston. But curiosity--no, a yearning--sends him on this quest to find this woman from his past, to find that thing in his life that he is missing. The only problem is that Don can not quite define what that is. He is not just looking for a former lover, or a son, but for something to fill a gaping hole in his life. The women range from the widow played by Sharon Stone (who has a daughter all-too-appropriately named Lolita), to Frances Conroy (fresh from her stint as the matriarch on Six Feet Under), to Jessica Lange (who, like Doctor Doolittle, talks to the animals). The last woman (among the living, at least) is played by Tilda Swinton, who lives in a distinctly lower class than the rest. We see just enough of each woman to learn some of their stories, and to see tantalizing clues that they might be hiding a secret or two. Director / writer Jim Jarmusch has taken the story and allowed it to unfold in a deliberate fashion. Murray plays a variant of the character he played in Lost in Translation, although a bit more subdued and depressed, and more prone to emotion, for example when he meets the fifth woman on his list. He communicates a lot with his expressions (this role really is perfect for him, in that regard). The supporting performances are all first-rate, as well. In the end, like Lost in Translation, the story leaves me wanting more. But that is a good thing. The Feature: 4.5 / 5      Video: Presented in 1.78x1 widescreen, enhanced for 16x9 televisions, Broken Flowers has an overcast look during much of the film. The cross-country travels occur during the rainy Fall. Colors and contrast appear to be accurate; slight edge enhancement is visible. Video: 4 / 5     Sound: Sound is subdued, and focused on the front plane, never crossing over into the surrounds. There are some front side directional effects, but not many. This is a dialogue-focused movie, and the sound fits it well. This is also a good place to mention the eclectic but entertaining music soundtrack. Sound: 3.5 / 5     Extras: Rounding out the disc are a few extras:
  2. Girls on the Bus (1:43) - an extended scene that was best left on the cutting room floor, in 4x3 widescreen.
  3. Broken Flowers: Start to Finish (7:41) - an odd compilation of out takes, held together by a stream of clapper board introductions. 4x3 widescreen. Check out the working title of the movie!
  4. Farmhouse (4:20) - a phone interview with Jim Jarmusch set to behind-the-scenes footage which looks like a home movie. 4x3 fullscreen.
  5. Original Theatrical Trailer (2:08) in 4x3 widescreen.
  6. Soundtrack Information - a 16x9 still frame featuring a picture of the soundtrack CD. Wow. Skippable previews for Brokeback Mountain, Brick, and The Constant Gardener, are also included, all in 4x3 widescreen. Extras: 3.5 / 5     In Conclusion: Broken Flowers is my kind of movie. Bill Murray continues to prove that he is up to the challenge of serious roles. The layers to his performance are haunting, and I will be thinking about this movie for a while. Overall Rating: 4 / 5     Recommended
    Display calibrated by Steve Martin at http://www.lionav.com/
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  8. ZacharyTait

    ZacharyTait Cinematographer

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  9. Dharmesh C

    Dharmesh C Supporting Actor

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    I thought it was a direct rip off of Lost in Translation. Different screenplay but Bill does the exact same thing.
     
  10. Colton

    Colton Supporting Actor

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    Horrible movie with no resolve at the end. Pointless.

    - Colton
     
  11. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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    Great review, Steve! I thought we might get a bit further before someone popped in to complain about the ending, but it was inevitable. The thread in Movies went the same way.

    Broken Flowers was one of last year's little-seen gems. Given that Murray's the star, I suppose the comparisons to Lost in Translation are inevitable, but the films really don't have much in common. Where LiT was about two people who make an unexpected connection when they find themselves dislocated from the lives they usually lead, BF is about one person reviewing the connections he made (and those that he missed) in the earlier years of his life. It's a film of small moments that, if you're paying attention, open windows into the whole of the characters' pasts. And the ending is hardly unresolved -- but again, you have to pay close attention.

    M.
     
  12. Page

    Page Stunt Coordinator

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    I agree with you, Michael. Very well written. I had heard so many bad things about this film before seeing it that I almost didn't bother renting it. (I now own a copy.) I was expecting another weak effort like "Coffee & Cigarettes", but this film was one of Jarmusch's best.

    For those looking for a pat ending which offers no room for interpretaton, you'll be disappointed in the ending. If you're looking for a movie which "realistically" approaches the way a person reaches (or does not reach, if you choose to view it that way) resolutions in his life, you'll experience a wonderful film.
     
  13. TonyD

    TonyD Who do we think I am?
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    i didnt like it.

    i can handle movies that dont explain every last thing to you like your a dummy, but this one just wasnt enough.




    the daughter who's name was lolita.
    murray says that an interesting choice for a name.
    in a movie that has such a think about it and figure it out yourself ending, why does he need to say that.
    pretty obvious already what she is.

    i did like the music during the film.

    in one of the features murry is watching cartoons and the characters are naked and he makes a funny remark about wondering how jarmusch found a cartoon with naked characters in it.

    didnt like the movie.
    didnt make any sensse.
    and nothing happened.

    [​IMG]
     
  14. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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    The two people in Lost in Translation who make an unexpected connection are the characters played by Murray and Scarlett Johannson.

    M.
     
  15. TonyD

    TonyD Who do we think I am?
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    ok right.
    with the anagramming of titles that happens now i confused what movie i was responding to.
    i thought i was resonding to broken flowers for some reason.

    i did find lost in translation to be a more interesting movie, though not as good as it was hyped to be.
    better characters, more interesting people in that one then broken flowers.
     
  16. Mark Bendiksen

    Mark Bendiksen Screenwriter

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    I've never really been a Jim Jarmusch fan. I have admired some of his films, but there's a big jump between admiring and truly liking. That having been said, I thoroughly enjoyed Broken Flowers. I can certainly see how it may not a film for all tastes (but then again, what film is?)
     
  17. JonZ

    JonZ Lead Actor

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    "and nothing happened."

    Thats what I said when I first saw Pulp fiction.

    I love that way the first 1/2 hour of this film was shot. It looks gorgeous.

    I agree the resolution isnt so important as the journey.The man was changed by the experience and thats what this film was about.

    I liked it.
     
  18. TonyD

    TonyD Who do we think I am?
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    was he changed?
    how can you know?

    he's just standing there, himself, wondering what just happened.
     
  19. Steve Tannehill

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    - Steve
     
  20. TonyD

    TonyD Who do we think I am?
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    that is interesting, steve.
    too bad hardly anyone will know that little tidbit.
     
  21. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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    It's an inside joke, not part of the movie. I didn't know about it, and my enjoyment of the film was not diminished.

    If you're genuinely interested in answers to your questions, I recommend the Movies thread linked above, where the film's ending is discussed in detail and from several different angles.

    M.
     
  22. Dave Scarpa

    Dave Scarpa Producer

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    This is gonna be a movie that like Lost In Translation will divide the mass Populace. I Did'nt really care for LIT, but I understood what it was trying to accomplish. I liked Broken Flowers Much more. I got the Humor, and the point of the movie , and I knew alot of people would'nt care for the ending, but it's not about finding his Son, it was more about his life and how the search would Affect him. It was a good film, that being said I'd like to see Bill Murray Get back to a character with a bit more life, I understand now that this understated Performing is becoming his Niche, but I'd like to see a bit more Zeal. Still you can't argue with anything that kick starts his return
     
  23. TonyD

    TonyD Who do we think I am?
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    i did read the movies topic.
    wasnt much discussion there though.

    just a few posts offering an opinion on the end and what the mvie was about, many were yours, [​IMG]

    i dont think it was a bad movie, just not enough.
    from the movie topic.

    "I didn't really need it all spelled out or a sentimental ending just a resolution of some kind."

    movies that leave the end like this, have no resolution.
    if everyone has to try to figure out what happens to the guy at the end, there was no resolution.
    the movie just stops.

    not saying it is a bad movie.
    i just didnt like it.
     
  24. DaViD Boulet

    DaViD Boulet Lead Actor

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    Steve,

    thanks for bringing this film to my attention. I look forward to seeing it.
     
  25. Mike Frezon

    Mike Frezon Moderator
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    Steve: Thanks for the review! I was one of those who asked for Broken Flowers when you asked for input. And, I'm glad I did!

    The discussion so far tells me I need to give this film a try! I was mixed about my reaction to Lost in Translation. While left wanting in some areas, the film made quite an impact in others for me. With the reaction this review has stirred among its participants, I am ready to dive in and give it a try. Murray is a favorite.

    I will wait on the thread over in Movies until I've seen it myself.
     
  26. Page

    Page Stunt Coordinator

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    I'd just move onto a different movie then, but it obviously isn't your "cup of tea." Myself, I thought the resolution was rather perfect for this character. You could say that he had many relationships throughout his life and still he never found one that was so fulfilling that he would remain in one relationship for the rest of his life. Likewise, the "pat" resolution he is seeking in being able to find his son will probably always elude him due to the nature of his character.

    (If you want to go to a Zen explanation of things, "Nothing Is Everything--Everything Is Nothing", it would therefore follow that no resolution is, in fact, it's own resolution. While a pat resolution is really an artifical resolution because it is forced to make all the pieces fall into place.)

    (By the way, I also thought that "Lost In Translation" was overhyped and I didn't think that it was anything special when I finally saw it. Meanwhile, "Broken Flowers" was underhyped by many and turned out to be a very deep and enriching film for me.)

    (If you want to try another film in which nothing really happens, try "Schultze Gets the Blues." It's a quiet film which is filled with wonderful observations if you're tuned into them.)
     

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