Broken Flowers ★★★½

“Did I give you that necklace?”
“I should have”

It’s always so admirable to see once huge and great actors continue with great talent and success even in their later years and Jim Jarmusch’s Broken Flowers gives exactly that to Bill Murray. He’s done several great performances in the later part of his career; Lost In Translation, The Royal Tenenbaums, Zombieland and… Uh… Garfield? Okay, scratch that last part. Still, I would say that the man has never been better this side of the millennium than he is in Broken Flowers.

Jarmusch’s roadmovie-esque dramedy smells of Alexander Payne and much like what he did with Jack Nicholson in About Schmidt, Jarmusch does with Murray here. His aging ladies’ man is both torn yet not without pride, it’s not something we’ve seen before but few can bring such life into a now gray and old playboy like Murray can. The story of him revisiting old lovers might be fairly conventional but it works so well thanks to Murray’s performance.
Much of it is also thanks to Jarmusch’s steady hand with the camera.

The composition of the images here is simply stunning, he has a perfect placement within the frames to create great art with contrasting colors and straight lines. This visual style helps elevate the perfect pace of the movie too, it’s definitely slow but that’s because Jarmusch really allows the scenes to breath for the atmosphere to fully settle. Broken Flowers is much more about the feeling rather than the overlaying plot.

Which is also why it’s so easy to forgive that Jeffrey Wright – as good as he is – mostly ends up like a thin comic-relief (with a very odd accent) and some of the other small issues. In the end, Jarmusch shows us that it’s maybe not what’s important, the open ending is a perfect closure to the emotional atmosphere of Broken Flowers. Maybe it’s not so much about who’s done what and in the end, how much does the end even matter when you’ve had the journey there?

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