A traveling projection-equipment mechanic works in Western Germany along the East-German border, visiting worn-out theatres. He meets with a depressed young man whose marriage has just broken up, and the two decide to travel together.
On location in Portugal, a film crew runs out of film while making their own version of Roger Corman's Day the World Ended (1955). The producer is nowhere to be found and director Friedrich... See full summary »
In 17th-century Salem, Hester Prynne must wear a scarlet A because she is an adulteress, with a child out of wedlock. For seven years, she has refused to name the father. A vigorous older ... See full summary »
Tom Ripley has a sweet deal with an art forger. The forger creates the paintings; Tom sells them. But another criminal business associate wants Tom to go in for an even riskier enterprise: murder. Tom suggests his associate ask a local picture framer instead. That man has a fatal disease, or so it's rumored. More, he has a wife and kid that surely he wouldn't want to leave penniless. Let this picture framer be a hit man, and no one will suspect. The terminally ill craftsman may agree to the misdeed, and several more, but he'll end up needing Tom Ripley in a pinch. Written by
I consider myself to be a Wim Wenders fan - sort of. I liked Wings of Desire and Paris, Texas. But The American Friend, despite some great location and architectural camera-work, is really a failed experiment. The problem is that Wenders seems unsure about whose point of view he is really taking. Dennis Hopper's Ripley is certainly more intriguing to him than Ganz's poor sad sack - and he tries to tell it from Ripley's point of view. But Wenders never really gets a handle on what makes the character tick - he's just Hopper doing crazy stuff. Ganz's character is really the soul of the movie - faced with uncertainties and painful decisions, and being at an existential loss to know how to live out his life. His story is the compelling one - and his character is the empathetic one. But we keep bouncing back to Ripley for unconvincing "character arcs" and increasingly more preposterous scenarios.
There are some exciting and suspenseful moments in the middle of the film, but the prolonged and (unintentionally?) comic climax left me disappointed and disengaged. I don't mind films that are ambiguous. In fact, I relish them. This film is seeks to be ambiguous and open ended, is actually crippled by inconsistencies, contradictions, and just plain undeveloped and vague scenarios.
Hopper is hyper-kinetic and is more amusing than threatening. Ganz is the counterpoint, with his quiet, soulful performance.
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