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Broken Flowers

It will be interesting, I'm sure, to see the various reviews for Broken Flowers (IMDB)--my guess is that they'll split pretty evenly among people who like Jarmusch's films and those who don't. Since I'm a member of the former group, here's why you should see this movie.

The rhythm of the movie is at times painfully slow, fighting against the same inertia that has overtaken Murray's life in the movie. There are places, many of them, that almost beg for a quicker cut to another scene or angle, and I have to think that Jarmusch is imposing this pace on us. In some ways, it reminds me of Paul Auster's work, the way that it reminds us of our own insistence on locating meaning where none may exist. There are a bunch of narrative connections that the movie allows us (and Murray and Wright) to draw, and the pace of the movie encourages us to "figure it out" in ways that are often misleading.

So yes, it is an unsatisfying movie on some levels. For me, this meant thinking about the very desire for satisfaction, a desire that Wright's character embodies and for which Murray's character almost serves as an antithesis. The movie is less about solving its central mystery and more about all the ways that we build our lives in order to avoid solving mysteries in general. The funny thing about this is that it's a movie that really prefigures its own critique. Someone will tell you, "It's slow. It's boring. Nothing really happens." And when they do, you'll know which of the characters that person identified with.

Me? I liked it quite a bit, and I flatter myself into thinking that it got me thinking about life in precisely the way it was meant to.

That's all.