Broken Flowers (2005)

<strong class="MovieTitle">Broken Flowers</strong> (2005)

(Netflix Streaming, November 2015) Mill Murray’s career took a very stranger turn after Lost in Translation, fulling embracing a sad-clown phase that probably reached its epitome in Jim Jarmusch’s Broken Flowers.  Here, Murray plays eccentricity on an almost entirely melancholic register as a rich but sad computer businessman who learns from an unknown source that he’s got a son.  Driving around to see his exes in an effort to find out who sent the letter and what happened, Murray’s hangdog charm is just about what saves Broken Flowers from overpowering sadness.  Shot blandly and featuring a deliberately maddening ending that doesn’t solve anything, this is the kind of film that either works as a succession of moments between actors, or simply infuriates.  (The road-movie structure of the film, in which the narrator travels, meets an ex, escapes and repeats, doesn’t help.)  It’s the kind of stuff that some people like a lot.  On the other hand, it’s about as dull as Murray has been on-screen, and it may help explain why ten years would go until (in St-Vincent), he’s take another lead role: the sad-clown phase of his career being fully realised, what else was there for him to do?  Certainly not go back to the earlier anarchic brat phase of his career; onward, then, to respected elder statesman of comedy, best used in small roles by quirky directors such as Wes Anderson.

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