In 1999, Claire's life is forever changed after she survives a car crash. She rescues Sam and starts traveling around the world with him. Writer Eugene follows them and writes their story, as a way of recording dreams is being invented.
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>
The 4 hours and 47 minutes Director's Cut was given a 4K restoration in 2014 by Arri Film & TV Services Berlin, with support from the French National Centre for Cinema (CNC). 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 »
The film exists in four separate versions. The first is the significantly cut American 158-minute version released by Warner Bros. in theaters, and on VHS, LaserDisc, and some streaming platforms. Wenders has disparagingly referred this cut as the 'reader's digest version'. The second is a 179-minute cut that existed only on Japanese LaserDisc. The third is Wim Wenders' director's cut, which runs 300 minutes. This cut significantly expands scenes, motivates Claire's romantic involvement with Sam Farber and keeps it from seeming less frivolous and more the expression of a wounded heart, additional scenes in Japan, and in San Francisco with Allen Garfield as an evil car salesman (a take-off on his character in another Wenders film), and numerous other expansions/additions. This full-length version divided the film into three parts, all given episode names, and all with opening credits because it was originally intended for this version to be shown as three separate films, or as a mini-series. This 300-minute cut was only available on DVD in Germany, Italy and France. It was screened several times over the years in America and the UK: the National Film Theatre in London on Saturday 2nd July 1994, December 6, 1996 at the University of Washington, with director Wim Wenders attending, Jan. 14, 2001 at the American Cinematheque (with Wenders attending), February 24, 2001 at the Directors Guild of America Theater with Wenders announcing the film would be released on DVD. See more »
Very disappointing road movie sprawling and lacking focus providing only occasional interest
At the end of 1999 the world is under threat as an Indian nuclear satellite spins out of control and slowly descends towards earth. Claire however has other problems, seeking solitude she gets mixed up with tow bank robbers and agrees to delivery the stolen money to Paris. On her journey she meets Trevor McPhee, who enlists her help to escape a man who is chasing him. Trevor steals some of Claire's money to continue his global journey. Claire pursues him across the Russia, America and Germany (with a detective and ex-boyfriend in tow) to find his quest is more emotional than it is criminal.
Wim Wenders simply a great director, visionary in his own way. However here he bites off more than he can chew with an ambitious road movie that, like the satellite that threatens the earth, easily spins out of his control. The story starts intriguingly Claire's journey is interesting and her globe trotting is at least entertaining. It doesn't have a great deal of humour but it is light and it feels like Claire, Trevor and Eugene's journeys are all building to something.
However it doesn't provide. The final hour of the film is static all in Australia, and it becomes heavy with pretention and navel-contemplation. The subjects of dreams etc are broached but it doesn't convince, despite throwing up interesting images and some intriguing ideas. It very much crawls to a conclusion and it's almost a relief when it ends.
The title suggests that there will be an element of apocalyptic dread about this. I know that's not the focus of the film, but I did feel it could have used this better. At the start it is mentioned and we see some evidence of panic etc but after that it is forgotten in fact everywhere seems quite normal. Later in the film something happens that threatens the earth but in a desert in Australia we never know what's happening and indeed neither the characters or the director seem to care either. I don't know why they bothered with the story line at all they certainly didn't do anything with it.
The cast are OK, but they move all over the place with the tone of the film. The best summary of the cast is that Hurt and Neil are nearly always watchable. Dommartin as Claire isn't as good as she needs to be and can't carry the `quest for love' side or the `addicted to dreams' side. They do provide some good moments but the characters are as illogical and meaningless as the film itself! Why would two bank robbers let Claire transport their money AND let her travel the earth for her lover and continually send her money to do it?!
Overall this provides several entertaining moments, but this is never as deep as it thinks it is. The second half is bogged down in a heavy plot and babble about dreams etc and by the time the ending comes you'll almost wish that the satellite had just fallen quickly and put us all out of our misery. Deeply disappointing.
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