Directed by: Jim Jarmusch. Cast: Bill Murray, Julie Delpy, Jeffrey Wright. Rated: 15. Running Time: 106 minutes.
Who doesn’t get sick of that need that most Hollywood films have for closure? Doesn’t everyone sometimes want a film that is a bit closer to life where the story kind of spills out of the bounds of a traditional narrative or at least leaves some loose ends? OK, so I know a lot of people think that everything should be squared away by the time the credits roll but fuck it sometimes the neatness just tastes of antiseptic.
Jarmusch and Murray are perfect for this kind of story, and its not that they aren’t using recognisable types because I am sure everyone will know someone that Don reminds them of, and the story is not an uncommon one, even the framing device of a road movie – what counts is how they play the tune. I think the best films generally play the game like jazz musicians riffing on a standard, taking a new angle, dropping unexpected notes, hitting strange nuances.
It’s an easy film to watch as well; one which flies by. All the characters feel authentic, awkward in the right places, with enough quirks to be interesting but not cartoony. It’s a gentle film, one that makes you care about the main character despite the fact that he hasn’t had a past that necessarily covers him in glory. Is that the Bill Murray effect though? Sure, it feels comfortable sitting down with an old friend like Bill, and you feel in trusted hands with Jim, but I am sure that they might be able to botch a movie. After Coffee & Cigarettes
which felt somewhat slight to me, despite being enjoyable, this was great. Don hasn’t exactly treated women well in this film, as the nudge-nudge referencing of Don Juan and Don Johnson respectively suggest, but he hasn’t been a monster either.
I’d recommend this film for everyone, but then that’s me – if you prefer your stories told in crayon like the traditional fare offered in cinemas then maybe not. Not popcorn blockbuster, not exactly arthouse obscure, indie is probably the preferred name, but I think human cinema might be an even better appelation. Check it out.