The latest Jim Jarmush movie Broken Flowers is in the tradition of all Jarmusch movies a mood piece where you begin a journey, visit different places much like in a road movie and in the end return to where you came from not quite the person you were in the beginning.
Don Johnston with a “t” (Bill Murray) recently dumped by his girl friend and contemplating life in his newly gained solitude receives an anonymous pink letter claiming he has a son who might come looking for him. Only by sharing the news with his neighbor is Don coaxed out of his passiveness after much convincing. Without much to go on his neighbor and hobby detective commences to formulate a cunning plan to uncover the mystery and sends him on a readily planned road trip to visit his past, to “check in” on his former girl friends from twenty years ago.
The movie is really slow paced and Bill Murray’s performance is more than once reminiscent of “Lost in Translation“. Don is not a man of many words and his progression from the indifferent lifeless shell of a middle aged man towards the man he used to be or the man others want him to be or even the man he himself wants to be is slow and full of mediocrity and dead ends until the point where he would simply like to believe out of mere desperation.
“Broken Flowers” is not quite as good as previous Jarmush movies such as “Mystery Train” or “Night on Earth” and has received too much hype to which it just cannot live up to. You have to be in the mood for it and you have to be open to all possibilities when watching it and you better not expect any conclusiveness. The only constant in life is change.
One of these possibilities includes getting seven thirteen year old pubertal girly girls thrown out of the theatre because they just can’t behave themselves and keep babbling nonstop, using their cell phones and shouting obscenities at the top of their screechy voices and think they are the coolest by doing so. “Le controlleur” taught them otherwise in his outrageous french accent and with a final applause they were “removed” from the cinema. Good riddance. I can assure you, some were this close to violence and it would have been pretty ugly, believe me.
I guess movies like “Thirteen” and books like “And suddenly they are 13 or the Art of hugging a cactus” do hold a grain of truth in as much as when appearing in numbers larger than one they just are out of control, totally. And all generalizations are false, so there.