It is a pleasure both to watch and to listen to this film. With its African rhythmic musical score creating atmosphere, the film combines some serious themes with a light touch. It is often funny, sometimes satirical at American eccentricity, always genial.
After Lost in Translation and The Life Aquatic, we are getting used to Bill Murray being something of an icon of seemingly passive, laconic middle age.
While he repeats this performance here, he varies it, often quietly brilliantly, with deadpan reactions to odd situations and simple eye and eyebrow movements that communicate volumes. It is a very clever and well-t imed performance.
He is an ageing computer businessman who is compared to Don Juan, although His current girlfriend, Julie Delpy, is walking out on him. Unlike Don Juan, h e has the opportunity to visit some of his past women, a quest for some kind of meaning to his life and affairs. He is urged to this by his computer-mad, detective fiction obsessed neighbout, Steven Wright.
These women include Sharon Stone, Frances Conroy, Jessica Lange and Tilda Swinton, quite a gallery of memorable performances, each with its sardonic comment on American ways, permissive, uptight, New Age, trailer trash.
Jim Jarmusch has never been so quiet and kindly in his films. It is smart, well-crafted and thoughtful, winner of the Jury Prize, Cannes, 2005.
Fr Peter Malone MSC is the International President of SIGNIS: the World Association for Catholic Communications and an Associate of the Australian Catholic Film Office.