Travis Henderson, an aimless drifter who has been missing for four years, wanders out of the desert and must reconnect with society, himself, his life, and his family.Travis Henderson, an aimless drifter who has been missing for four years, wanders out of the desert and must reconnect with society, himself, his life, and his family.Travis Henderson, an aimless drifter who has been missing for four years, wanders out of the desert and must reconnect with society, himself, his life, and his family.
Paris, Texas is virtually my favorite movie, and a movie that, whether you like it or not, will leave some impact on you. It is a journey, an experience, an odyssey.
Yes, it is long. Yes, it is slow. Defined plot points? Please.
But what this movie does do is place into the mind of it's lead character. Travis Henderson, an older man, gruff and worn out with age, wanders out of the Texas desert after missing from his family for four years. He is mute, and apparently unaware of who he is. His brother Walt finds him, and tries to rehabilitate him back into sanity. The film then covers Travis's journey to reconnect with a past which he has long since forgotten. He reunites with his son, his sister in-law, and eventually, in a scene which I tear up just thinking about, his wife.
But that is all I will divulge about his wife. That is a scene which you really have to see to believe.
While this film really doesn't rely on plot, it does have structure and tone. And what carries us through this mystical story is the unbelievably beautiful photography. We see the world as it should be seen: a starkly beautiful, but uncompromising, place. The use of color and motifs really makes this film a marvel to look at.
And then we get to performances. Everyone's great, so I will focus on our two truly main characters. Harry Dean Stanton plays Travis, a gentle, kind man, that, despite having personal demons, is a great fatherly figure (fine, maybe he isn't the best father...but there's no denying he left an impact on his son's life). And seeing Stanton bring this character to life in the most subtle and somber way possible is amazing. And then we have Natassja Kinski, who plays Jane, his wife. She doesn't show up until the third act, and 95% percent of her performance takes place in one room. But Kinski's portrayal of emotion...and her quiet, yet powerful demeanor...and the way she talks...god, it's unbelievable. Stanton and Kinski have some of the best chemistry ever, which is even more impressive considering they're never in the same room (see the movie...you'll understand). In the end, these two carry the movie on their backs, and do an amazing job doing it.
You may not cry, but you will think about crying. You will think about all the sad moments in your life. And it will all be washed out of you by movie's end. Believe me, I know this from personal experience. This movie is almost therapeutic in the way. Because the story is healing our own souls at the same time as it is healing Travis's.
So. What's more to say about Paris, Texas? It's a beautiful movie, one that relies on photography and performances to tell it's story, and a movie that portrays emotions on a master class level. And what do I mean by 'Anti-Romance'? It's not worth explaining here. See the movie, you'll understand.
- Oct 18, 2009