Man of Flowers Reviews
January 12, 2012
Utterly mesmerising and hauntingly beautiful, Man of Flowers joins the long list of underrated/overlooked great Australian films. It's quite funny too. I admit, the only reason I watched it is because it starred Werner Herzog, who doesn't actually have any dialogue - but this is made up for the fact that Norman Kaye is just as captivating, both in his performance and in his voice. I was transfixed and thoroughly entertained throughout. Paul Cox is a director I'm going to seek out - how this film has been overlooked is a mystery to me!
January 4, 2011
Man of Flowers is a strange little film, a product of the eighties, that shows a little skin and hands out a great deal of woo-woo mysticism in the process. The characters are drawn pretty thinly, the problems that each character faces are somewhat formulaic, and the print is dated. But there are a few bright spots. Norman Kaye, plays the eccentric, shy, Charles Bremer with an aristocratic reserve that is almost (almost) believable. Lisa (Alyson Best) is a beautiful young woman torn between this gentle soul and an abusive boyfriend, David (Chris Haywood), who is a tortured, has-been artist with several problems of his own. And Jane (Sarah Walker) is a girlfriend who offers Lisa relationship advice, but has designs on Lisa for herself. What little we know of what led Charles to this is told through flash-backs that appear as dreams, a device that is not entirely effective. It was entertaining, just not very.
May 22, 2010
This virtually unnoticed drama holds what is certainly among the most captivating opening scenes ever committed to film.
A perfectly suited, middle-aged man (Kaye) sits formally in his black leather chair, stoically absorbing the room of sensual pleasure he has crafted: gorgeous floral arrangements, sculptures and paintings, while a lush aria plays and an ingenue (Best) slowly disrobes down to her pearl necklace. Then, with the slightest of glance and touch to his temple, the viewer realizes that, for Kaye, there is a cruel ennui, a certain impotence, in all that he has assembled.
The scene is the opening gambit in a character study that slowly slips ever deeper down into the Freudian rabbit hole that is Kaye's asocial psyche, toward the childhood that has brought him to this, his artistic but cloistered, lonely and unsatisfying existence.
Soon enough, the relationship deepens and Kaye is confronted with the decision as to whether it will be his own compulsively perfect world - or Best's, saddled with sexual ambiguity and her cokehead wannabe-painter live-in (Haywood) - that he will choose to live.
There's a lot of topic on deck here - how adulthood is forged from childhood, what is life's greatest beauty, what May gains from May-December, the torture that middle-aged loneliness can be.
Unique, unusual, intellectual, visual, poignant are all more-than-fair adjectives for this film. The film does plod along at points, especially when wading through far too many enigmatic, heavy-handed and redundant childhood flashbacks, and so some patience is required of the viewer.
RECOMMENDATION: "Man of Flowers" looks like a Criterion resto job just waiting to happen. True film buffs shouldn't wait.
February 13, 2011
Beautifully executed, wonderful cast of crazy characters, and a great performance by the lead actor. Great film. But it could be that it's missing something. Not really sure what. But I didn't really enjoy it as much. I can tell it's a great film, but didn't really enjoy it for some reason.