Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Broken Flowers

I don't bust out the 1 star rating on Netflix very often, but Broken Flowers has received that honor. You'd think a movie with an 86% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes would guarantee at least some level of enjoyment. Nope. The critics seem to love it, but if you look around at forums or user ratings you'll see I'm not alone in my disappointment.

It doesn't take much for me to enjoy a movie. I have to be entertained or walk away thinking. Either is acceptable, both are great. Broken Flowers managed to come up with neither. For a movie billed as a comedy it was decidedly not funny. No laughter, no smile, no dry statement aloud of "That's funny," not even a pleasant retrospective afterwards of some ridiculous moment.

Okay, so it's not humor I'm going to get out of this… maybe there are interesting characters? Nope. I'm cool with many forms of Bill Murray (everything from Ghostbusters to Lost in Translation to Life Aquatic), but his character in Broken Flowers has crossed the line from being understated to stating nothing. The women of the film provide the only personality, but they are constrained to short vignettes. So really you're stranded with no emotional anchor for the entire film.

How about plot? Certainly this slow, unfunny movie with bland characters must tell an interesting tale? Not the case. The setup is forced and the plot goes nowhere. No really, nowhere - the ending was extremely unsatisfying. You know, the sort where the credits start scrolling and you say aloud "Really? That's it?" You can squint and say that the movie made a statement about a man going on a journey to find out he wanted something he didn't know he wanted. But really at that point you're just trying to find a way to justify the wasted hour and a half of your life.

1 comment:

  1. I am surprised you didn't like it. Broken Flowers asks a compelling question: What is your legacy?

    Jim Jarmusch offers a spare parable about life. It isn't interesting, it frequently goes nowhere, and in the end we leave something behind in spite of ourselves.

    It doesn't matter whether the kid is his son, Lolita could have easily been his daughter. Most of the movie is just metaphor, the ending is pitting two very different, but equally pained struggles for identity together.

    I am happy that Murray's character didn't have a revelation. Revelations are a rare experience. I find it very plausible that he was just as confused, if not more so, after his journey.