Tôyama, a weak-willed businessman, is in debt to the Yakuza; they also have a video of him bribing a government minister. To clear his debts, he agrees to let them drug and kidnap his wife Shizuko, Japan's queen of the tango, and subject her to the proclivities of a 95-year-old voyeur, who's a Yakuza boss. After a masked ball, Shizuko is taken prisoner; she fights her captors, submitting only when the life of Kyôko, her female bodyguard, is threatened. Tôyama feels regret ... (Full plot summary below)
Tôyama, a weak-willed businessman, is in debt to the Yakuza; they also have a video of him bribing a government minister. To clear his debts, he agrees to let them drug and kidnap his wife Shizuko, Japan's queen of the tango, and subject her to the proclivities of a 95-year-old voyeur, who's a Yakuza boss. After a masked ball, Shizuko is taken prisoner; she fights her captors, submitting only when the life of Kyôko, her female bodyguard, is threatened. Tôyama feels regret and seeks to buy back Shizuko, but by this time, she may be enjoying her situation. Is she, or is she pretending in order to protect herself and Kyôko? Would she want a way out if there is one? Written by
Review & Comments
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Boston Globe - 10/10 by Ty BurrExhilaratingly slow, which for many will simply mean SLOW... Those who can downshift appropriately, however, stand to be enraptured.
Entertainment Weekly - 10/10 by Lisa SchwarzbaumA movie of uncommon sweetness and delight.
Chicago Sun-Times - 10/10 by Roger EbertNo actor is better than Bill Murray at doing nothing at all, and being fascinating while not doing it. Buster Keaton had the same gift for contemplating astonishing developments with absolute calm. Buster surrounded himself with slapstick, and in Broken Flowers Jim Jarmusch surrounds Murray with a parade of formidable women.
Village Voice - 9/10 by Jessica WinterWith elegant restraint the film subtly intimates the wintry dead end-twilight years bereft of love, partner, or vocation-that may be in store for its aged lover man. (Payne's "About Schmidt" did too, when not gorging snidely on idiot Americana.)
Premiere - 9/10 by Glenn KennyThis is not a perfect picture, but it’s a soulful one that offers a lot of pleasure and even a kind of wisdom.
Slate - 9/10 by David EdelsteinThe ending is madly unsatisfying--yet dead perfect. This is a remarkable film.
Rolling Stone - 9/10 by Peter TraversBroken Flowers may be too low-key for laugh junkies, but Jarmusch fills his sharply observed comedy with wonderful mischief. The mix of humor and heartbreak brings out the best in Murray.
L.A. Weekly - 9/10 by Scott FoundasIt's a romantic comedy in which both the romance and the comedy are turned to such muted levels that any lower would require closed captioning.
The New York Times - 9/10 by Dana StevensLike a perfect, short-lived love affair, its pleasure is accompanied by a palpable sting of sorrow. It leaves you wanting more, which I mean entirely as a compliment.
The A.V. Club - 9/10 by Nathan RabinMurray and Jarmusch, two modern masters of minimalism, triumphantly join forces in Broken Flowers, a bittersweet tour de force about a wealthy, deeply depressed lothario.
Portland Oregonian - 9/10 by Shawn LevyAn engaging exercise in mature poignancy, existential consciousness and deadpan drollery, Broken Flowers is a return by Jarmusch to the road movie structure of such films as "Stranger Than Paradise," "Night on Earth" and "Dead Man."
Chicago Tribune - 9/10 by Michael WilmingtonA dark subject certainly, but in Murray's bouquet-bearing hands, it can still hand us a laugh.