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Broken Flowers

Review Written by: Will Penley
Film: A
Video/Audio/Extras: A/A-/C-

Directed by: Jim Jarmusch
Written by: Jim Jarmusch
Produced by: Jon Kilik and Stacey Smith
Starring: Bill Murray, Jeffrey Wright, Sharon Stone, Frances Conroy, Jessica Lange, Tilda Swinton, Alexis Dziena
Buy it!, Buy it, rent it or skip it: Rent it

"All there is is this."

When I first heard about Broken Flowers, I couldn't wait to check it out. It was playing about two hours away from me and I had several opportunities to go see it. However, things always got in the way at the last minute and it seemed that I would have to wait for DVD. However, it was well worth the wait because the film is one of the most amazing I've seen from 2005. I haven't seen much from director Jim Jarmusch's earlier work, but now I have to because I was so impressed with this one. His direction is perfect and he's written one of the best screenplays of the year. Why the screenplay didn't get an Oscar nomination, I'll never know. Everybody needs to see this one!

Don Johnston (Bill Murray) is an aging Don Juan who has just broken up with yet another one of his many girlfriends. On the same day, he receives a mysterious pink letter in the mail that tells him that he has a 19-year-old son who may be looking for him. After showing the letter to his neighbor Winston (Jeffrey Wright), he tells Don to make a list of all the women he was with twenty years ago and he would compile a list of their current addresses so that Don could investigate the letter. Very reluctantly, Don agrees and sets out on a journey of mystery and self-discovery.

If you liked Lost in Translation, you're sure to like this one as the two share several themes. Bill Murray gives an amazing performance in the film and he's definitely worthy of an Oscar as is Jeffrey Wright, who gives an equally good performance. Sadly, they were also snubbed at the Oscars. The Academy really puzzles me sometimes. A big "A" for the film and an angry letter to the Academy. Broken Flowers is a very small film and that's probably the reason Universal decided against loading the disc down with extras. The anamorphic widescreen transfer is just beautiful and is one of the best transfers I've seen lately. The Dolby 5.1 track is also very good, though there are a few points where it's a bit hard to understand what the characters are saying -- for me, at least. An "A" for video and an "A-" for audio.

As good as the video and audio is, the extras area is where the disc falls short. The first extra is "Girls on the Bus," a long, uninterrupted take of a scene in the film in which Murray sits on a bus and listens to two teenage girls talk. That's followed by "Broken Flowers: Start to Finish," which consists of several takes with Murray during the shoot. "Farmhouse" gives viewers a sneak peek at the crew setting up for a certain scene in the film. Jarmusch also provides commentary on some of his work in this extra as well. Rounding out the disc is some soundtrack information and the film's original theatrical trailer. Wait -- what's that? Universal put a trailer on a DVD? Yippee! Maybe they're learning.

The extras are a real disappointment, but the film is worth buying. However, I do recommend that you rent it first because it's definitely not to the tastes of some people.

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