Paris, Texas

Paris, Texas ★★★★½

Starts off pretty neat, a much needed mouthwash from the cynicism that was my previous film. Humans who listen to and care for one another – what a relief. Gorgeous landscapes and compression of space. (I can’t believe I’m saying this, but that DCP looked so good I might have preferred it over celluloid.) Having a brother myself, I found Travis and Walt endearing, and the film definitely shines during that home video scene. But it’s all just “pretty neat” and nice, lacking that emotional punch that takes it to the next level.

Then the final 30 minutes happen and transport this film from the scorched ground to the top of a billboard. Wow. An emotional stunner, played mostly through three devastating long takes. It’s some of the best marriage breakdown stuff I’ve ever seen, and you know I *love* marriage breakdowns. Sam Shepard’s script is very theatrical but works because of Wim Wenders’ very cinematic compositions, with the intimacy only cinema can offer. For the first two hours, despite my enjoyment, I kept impatiently checking my watch because I didn’t feel too well. The last 30 minutes suspended time.

It’s a surprisingly sensitive deconstruction of Americana and masculinity, featuring a true American hero who heals wounds instead of creating them. No wonder it was made by a European; it all makes sense now.

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