As the extremely withdrawn Don Johnston is dumped by his latest woman, he receives an anonymous letter from a former lover informing him that he has a son who may be looking for him. A freelance sleuth neighbor moves Don to embark on a cross-country search for his old flames in search of answers.
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Kar Wai Wong
Tony Leung Chiu Wai,
The resolutely single Don Johnston has just been dumped by his latest lover, Sherry. Don resigns himself to being alone yet again and left to his own devices. Instead, he is compelled to reflect on his past when he receives by mail a mysterious pink letter. It is from an anonymous former lover and informs him that he has a 19-year-old son who may now be looking for his father. Don is urged to investigate this "mystery" by his closest friend and neighbor, Winston, an amateur sleuth and family man. Hesitant to travel at all, Don nonetheless embarks on a cross-country trek in search of clues from four former flames. Unannounced visits to each of these unique women hold new surprises for Don as he haphazardly confronts both his past and, consequently, his present. Written by
"Dreams I'll Never See"
by Gregg Allman
Performed by The Allman Brothers Band
Used by permission of EMI Unart Catalog Inc.
Courtesy of The Island Def Jam Music Group under license from Universal Music Enterprises See more »
Jim Jarmusch returns to the screen with an immensely pleasing film that looks extremely simple, but in fact, it's what is not being said that really is at the center of the picture. Mr. Jarmusch is one director that loves to work with an economy of everything. His films seem to be crying for a set decorator, but that is misleading, because it's the simplicity that seems to work in most cases.
If you haven't seen the film, perhaps you should stop reading here.
At the center of the story is Don Johnston, whose name seems to provoke in most people a recognition by associating it to the actor, Don Johnson. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Don is a taciturn man, who when we meet him is being dumped by his last girlfriend.
Don Johnston, with his deadpan demeanor, appears to be a man that has gone through life on auto pilot. In fact, when he receives the letter that will, in a way, change his life, he doesn't even react. His solution to the problem is to show this letter to his next door neighbor, Winston. Little does Don knows, but Winston maps out a plan to get him involved in the solution of the mystery he is presented. We accompany Don in a trip of discovery to reacquaint himself with former lovers who might have been instrumental in sending the pink letter.
Thus we meet Laura, the closet organizer, a widow now, living with a precocious daughter, Lolita, who seems to have jumped from the Nabokov's book, in all her precociousness. Then, there is Dora, the real estate woman who lives in a development in which all the houses look alike. We meet Carmen, the pet communicator, a sort of animal analyst who has turned her love interest another way. Finally, we are given a glimpse of Penny, who couldn't care less to see Don one more time.
The opening sequence that sets the story in motion is nothing but perfection. We watch the fateful letter at the beginning when it's being dropped in the mail box right up to its delivery through Don's mail slot.
Jim Jarmusch, and his amazing cast have done wonders with this film. Bill Murray is sensational as the jaded Don Johnston. Once again, this actor clearly shows he is at the top of the game. Jeffrey Wright, one of the best young actors working in films and in the theater these days, makes a valuable contribution as Winston. The women in Don's life are fantastic. Sharon Stone, Frances Conroy, Julie Delpy, Tilda Swinton, and Jessica Lange are seen at their best. Finally, two excellent turns by Alexis Dziena as Lolita and Chloe Sevigny as an assistant to Carmen.
Mr. Jarmusch has created a film that says a lot about how modern relationships are being practiced these days.
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