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Set in 1999, a woman (Dommartin) has a car accident with some bank robbers, who enlist her help to take the bank money to a drop in Paris. On the way she runs into another fugitive from the law (Hurt), an American who is being chased by the CIA. The charges are false, he claims. They want to confiscate a device his father invented which allows anyone to record their dreams and vision. On the run from both the bank robbers and the CIA, the couple span the globe, ending up in Australia at his father's (von Sydow) research facility, where they hope to play back the recordings Hurt captured for his blind mother. Set in the futuristic year of 1999, a subplot about a damaged Indian nuclear satellite crashing and causing the end of civilization is a puzzling addition to the film. Written by
Ed Sutton <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Wenders' original cut for the film came in at eight hours long. See more »
When many of the European characters leave the Mbantua settlement and take a group photo, believing the adventure to be over, the voice-over mentions that it is February, 2000. Yet shortly after we see Henry Farber trying a new series of experiments on recording dream imagery, and a computer display for the current experiment says January 21. See more »
UNTIL THE END OF THE WORLD (1991) is not like a typical, American science-fiction film. There are no villains or car-chases or explosions (okay, maybe ONE). German director Wim Wenders projected the world 10 years into the future, to 1999. He added only a touch of strangeness, such as cars which speak to the driver and warn of traffic conditions, or videophones (which require people to stay stylish and well-groomed all day in case of an incoming call?)
An Indian nuclear satellite's orbit is decaying, and it may generate an electromagnetic pulse that will wipe out all the world's computer memory. Against this ominous Y2K backdrop, a French party-girl named Claire Tourneur meets two bank-robbers, and the money they confide to her attracts the interest of a hitch-hiker named Trevor McPhee, who takes some and takes off. Trevor attracts the interest of Claire, and from there it's a merry romp around the world as the story crosses nine countries. We discover Trevor's hidden, almost Messianic mission: to give visions to the blind, but not without risk to the characters' minds.
The plot of the story is understated, and there is very little violence except for the emotional violence the characters commit against each other. That makes this film more European than American. Wim Wenders also solicited the collaboration of many pop music artists, asking them for a song like what they would be writing in 10 years' time, making for one of the strongest soundtracks in movie history.
I found that the pace of the film avoided being too languid by the variety of countries and their refreshing sceneries. Wenders carefully crafted his imagery and strongly blended it with sound, albeit the inherent beauty of his film serves to tell a somewhat minimalist story that will nonetheless linger with the viewer.
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