Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB. USA/France, 2005. Focus Features, Five Roses, Bac Films. Screenplay by Jim Jarmusch, inspired by an idea from Bill Raden, Sara Driver. Cinematography by Frederick Elmes. Produced by Jon Kilik, Stacey Smith. Music by Mulatu Astatke. Production Design by Mark Friedberg. Costume Design by John Dunn. Film Editing by Jay Rabinowitz. Cannes Film Festival 2005.
Offbeat, dryly humorous tale in which Bill Murray is Lost In Translation-level good as an aging Don Juan (aptly named Don Johnson) whose latest girlfriend has just left him after deciding not to put up with his emotional unavailability any longer. Soon afterwards he receives an unsigned letter from a former girlfriend telling him that he has a son whom he’s never met but who is now an adult and has gone off in search of his father. Don’s neighbour (a brilliant Jeffrey Wright), who is obsessed with detective fiction, insists that Don hit the road and visit his flames of the past twenty years, employing some elementary deductions to find out who wrote the letter. The journey, populated by a host of celebrity cameos by great actresses including Julie Delpy, Frances Conroy, Jessica Lange, Chloe Sevigny, Tilda Swinton (all too briefly) and a marvelous Sharon Stone, ends up being one that goes directly into the core of Don’s being and not just his past. Maintaining its sarcastically aloof tone throughout, this is a memorable exercise in oddity of the kind that Jim Jarmusch has been serving up for years.