Let me be clear, I don’t really rate Bill Murray and I never have. I despised his smug insouciance in Ghostbusters and his new incarnation as the King of the Indies hasn’t lifted my skirt a pleat. From Groundhog Day and Rushmore to The Life Aquatic with Steve Zisou and Lost In Translation, his monosyllabic, world-weary acting style makes deciphering his humour a microscopic knack. Now, we have a film that is so laid back, soooo inanimate, it supports Bill’s almost acting/awake style perfectly: it’s like watching two blobs of Marmite race down a diagonal wall of glue.
The movie opens and the camera drifts like a bad smell into Bill’s house. He’s Don Johnstone (a lame gag that is repeated ad infintum with diminishing results), an old roue who has made a lot of money from computers. He receives an anonymous letter from an old flame informing him that the son he never knew is out looking for the dad he never knew – Don. Don Johnstone( zzzz )’s next door neighbour, Winstone, suggests going round to all the women he fucked during the alleged period to check them out. Don can’t be bothered: he doesn’t think it’s a good idea; he reckons it’ll be a waste of time. An hour into the movie, I was inclined to agree with him on all three counts, but no: Jim Jarmusch decides we are all going on this boring road trip to places where nothing happens even though Sharon Stone, Jessica Lange, Tilda Swinton and Chloe Sveigny are among the female stars bafflingly attracted to him (Don). It’s like a detective film that can’t be bothered to be a part of the surroundings. We’re not supposed to care, is that it? Are we supposed to find this appealing? Quirky? Maybe it’s one of those films that explain to us morons exactly how hum-drum and commonplace our miserable lives are by exploring the interminable ennui of human existence that lies beneath the surface of our boredom. Maybe an idea that would have been better suited to radio. Hospital radio.
JIm Jarmusch has made some great films: Dead Man, Down by Law and Ghost Dog spring to mind. But this fucker is a dead dog of a private joke. And its so bad, it encourages video piracy.
Wasted Hours, I think would be more appropriate.
P.S. One good thing about the movie is the soundtrack by Ethiopian musician Mulatu Astatke (http://www.rottentomatoes.com/p/mulatu_astatke/).