Language : English.
Director : Wim Wenders.
Writers : L.M. Kit Carson(adaptation by), Sam Shepard, Walter Donohue(story editor: Channel 4)
Cast : Harry Dean Stanton, Dean Stockwell, Nastassja Kinski, Hunter Carson, Aurore Clément.
Genre : Drama
Imdb: Paris, Texas (1984)
Spoiler Alert: This review contains spoilers regarding the nature and ending of the film (last paragraph).
If you’re coming here for Entertainment, run as far as you can. Paris, Texas (1984) is far from an entertainer. There is nothing entertaining about Paris, Texas (1984).
It’s a movie about closure, the beauty and complexity of human relationships. If you see everything as black and white, this movie will seem very very ordinary and boring to you. There are no traditional heroes, protagonists nor antagonists in this movie. All are heroes in their own rights, they are their own villain too. This movie has very few characters (who all are very important), considerably less dialogue (especially in the first 90 minutes) but a lot of magic in the space between the dialogues.
It’s a very slow, beautiful film for those who love cinema as an art and who likes to see cinema as a medium to reflect. It’s actually painfully slow for about the first 90 minutes. But if you can still keep on watching after that, you should be able to reap rewards out of this movie. It certainly takes time to connect with the characters of the movie, as they open up very slowly layer by layer, and you slowly get invested into the movie.
The visuals, cinematography, of this movie are world-class. The sounds too, the natural sounds and white noises of this movie give it another dimension. The characters are incredibly well written and give world class performances. Wim Wenders has certainly made this movie magical especially with the last 54 minutes.
The conversations unravel the different layers of the characters and the events that happened in the movie or before the movie. You get to know about the characters more through dialogues more than the events in the movie. Not a lot of events happen throughout the runtime of the movie. But in contrast, the lives of many people change inside the movie despite this. It will never be the same again. Everything happens slowly.
The screenplay is amazing, since you get to know all the characters very slowly via the dialogues. All the reveals are regarding events that happened in the past via dialogues. You could say everything happens very slowly but then all at once.
The movie asks key questions like:
1) How long can one hold his anger for?
2) Can you return back to someone who you think has clearly violated your boundaries?
3) Do you have to be with someone to keep on loving them?
4) Can you fully forget the past if you choose to?
I have been postponing this movie for years and I finally completed the movie in two sittings in 2 days. The first sitting for 30 minutes and 124 minutes in the second sitting. You can easily say, it took some time and effort to get into the groove of the film, but once that barrier was crossed, the film turned out to be very personal for me.
I highly recommend this movie to (patient) cinephiles, who are open to reflection, character study and love slow paced movies with somewhat complex human dynamics.
P.S Fun note: This is what Taxi Driver would have been in a parallel universe. There are a lot of similarities. A hell lot.
Especially the ending.
Verdict : 5/7 stars
During the scene in the Texas airport, Dean Stockwell’s character is on the phone with his wife. The PA announcer can be heard saying “A message for Joy Stockwell, Joy Stockwell. Austin will arrive at any minute.” Joy was Dean’s wife and Austin, his son, was born during production of this film.
Harry Dean Stanton’s favorite film from his own filmography.
Travis (Harry Dean Stanton) doesn’t speak at all until 26 minutes into the film.
Musicians Kurt Cobain and Elliott Smith claimed this was their favorite movie of all time.
The film is included on Roger Ebert’s “Great Movies” list.
This is one of the Akira Kurosawa’s favorite films.
Harry Dean Stanton and Nastassja Kinski portray husband and wife. In real life, Stanton is 35 years older than Kinski.
Included among the “1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die”, edited by Steven Schneider.
The man who’s shadow is seen when Travis enters the club is director Wim Wenders.
This film is in the Official Top 250 Narrative Feature Films on Letterboxd.