As the extremely withdrawn Don Johnston is dumped by his latest woman, he receives an anonymous letter from a former lover informing him that he has a son who may be looking for him.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
Whether it was (shrewdly) planned or not, Bill Murray has become one of our greatest cinematic resources, just as comfortable doing dry comedy as he is acting in a mood piece; his whole melancholy being has become perfect for avant-garde comedy, and this meticulously-mounted and shaded 'dramedy' is a Bill Murray vehicle all the way. The loosely-structured plot deals with calling up the past, which it says you can't really do because it's gone, and not worrying about the future because it isn't here yet. Murray plays a computer businessman, a committed bachelor and "over-the-hill Don Juan", who receives news he might have fathered a child with an ex-girlfriend 20 years ago. The film, helmed under the more effective title "Dead Flowers", is an unintended journey of self-discovery which is purposely incomplete but not pointless; the screenplay leaves the scenario open for discussion, and writer-director Jim Jarmusch structures each sequence in such a cockeyed way that we don't really know where the movie is headed. This is perfect for audiences interested in something a little different, and even if the pacing is dryly solemn or slow, it delights in being anti-formula. A very good film, difficult as an entertainment per se and often puzzling or obtuse, though it continues Bill Murray on the path of an actor of incredible taste, decision and consequence. *** from ****
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