Paul Cox’s film, flickering between realism and fantasy, follows the progress of Bremer, a rich naive eccentric (Norman Kaye), whose inherited wealth both protects him from the coldness of the outside world and isolates him from its warmth. He is cocooned in a childlike innocence, dwelling on the sexual exploration of his boyhood.
Man of Flowers opens with an astonishingly erotic strip by Lisa, the model. She strips, nothing more, nothing less. Is her stated affection for him genuine, or is she attracted by his money? Cox keeps the bond teasingly ambiguous.
At times Man of Flowers creates Hitchcock-like tension, but when the suspense becomes uncomfortable Cox lets his audience off the hook with a little wry humor. The expected black climax is never quite allowed to occur.
Kaye delivers a wonderful, understated performance as Bremer and Alyson Best is a delightfully enigmatic Lisa.