Dir: Wim Wenders
1991 Color English 158 Min (US VHS Version)
remember being intrigued by this movie back in 1992 when I first saw it with some friends in college. I had remembered the movie being really long, but full of innovative “HD Video” and an interesting look at the not so distant future of 1999. A few months ago, I picked up a used copy of the movie at Amoeba records and decided to re-visit the movie and see how my life perspective would think about it.
The movie follows the travels of Claire who through a series of accidents meets Sam, a mysterious American who seems to be running from something. Claire falls in love with Sam and pursues him around the world to find out his secret. Along the way, they meet bounty hunters, bank robbers, ex lovers, and a whole slew of characters. It turns out Sam has a device to take photos and video which combined with his father’s invention will let his blind mother see for the first time. Once the characters reunite in the Australian Outback, they travel down a dark path of inner exploration.
First off: I would love to see this movie in Widescreen and on DVD. The butchering of pan and scan really affects this movie, and as a result makes some of the scenes look unrealistic and cheap. There are rumors that there is a 5 hour director’s cut “Trilogy” version of the movie – which I think probably would a lot better.
The film (as I remember it and can imagine – barely from the VHS) is wonderfully shot and full of amazing cinematography in scenes shot in various cities around the world.
As the US release was structured, it was very hodge-podge and jumped around a lot before the characters arrive in the Australian Outback. I suspect because some of the sacrifices in cutting down the movie were in the first half. The pace of the movie slows to a crawl in the Australian scenes. For someone not used to slow paced movie, it can get very boring and dull. I didn’t think it was that bad, as I was committed to see how things turned out – someone with no real desire could easily become bored by the whole thing.
There is a lot of discussion of the soundtrack for the movie which is very long and contains new music by all the big stars of 1991. Personally, I felt that the music soundtrack was a bit heavily used and at times it was like “Geez theres another song – gotta squeeze one more song in!”. All is not lost, because the score for the movie is actually quite good.
It is worth checking out, but be warned, make sure you are up for a long drama! Personally, I wouldn’t mind seeing the five hour version to see if it is actually more engrossing.