'Paris, Texas' is probably Wim Wenders' most well known, critically acclaimed, and successful movie, winning a number of international prizes including the Cannes Palm D'Or for best film in 1984. This unusual road movie, with screenplay by acclaimed playwright Sam Shepard, tells the tale of Travis, a man lost in his own private hell. Presumed dead for four years, he reappears from the desert on the Mexico border, world-weary and an amnesiac. He traces his brother Walt who is bringing up Hunter, his seven-year-old son, his ex-wife Jane having abandoned him at Walt's door several years before. As virtual strangers, Hunter and Travis begin to build a wary friendship and conspire to find Jane and bring her back to be a real family. With extraordinary performances from Harry Dean Stanton as Travis and Nastassja Kinski as Jane, the film also boasts a soundtrack by Ry Cooder, ideally suited to the film's sunbleached landscapes and melancholy undertones.
This is a unique film. The Director brilliantly combines a range of genres and a series of stories. Genres include road, romance, mystery and family, whilst the stories include a missing brother, restoring a father and finding a missing mother. The range of scenery, cinematography, story and acting are all of the highest standard. Sound is sensitively handled, and the music is mainly a bluesy steel guitar accompaniment, which is highly appropriate.
The mystery of why a man disappeared into the desert for 4 years is slowly uncovered as the film progresses, and some of the flashbacks and scenes between Travis and his son and wife are particularly moving. Without revealing the ending, although a lot of good things happen, it isn't all happy or simple.
Gripping,sad ,moving.and excellent.
- Paris, Texas review by F
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You rated this film: 4
I'm not of an artistic frame of mind or a film buff ,and can't review the film as a work of art. I can say however that I thorougly enjoyed this film and from the reviews and award nominations for this film it must rank highly among film buffs.
Right from the beautiful opening shots ,with Ry Cooders haunting slide guitar as background ,it grips your attention as you wonder why a man lost in the desolation is walking purposefully and compulsively towards more desolation. Eventually he touches the fringes of civilisation and his mental and identity problems start to be slowly resolved . The story then unfolds as to who he is, and why he has vanished from the world of all who knew him, and from all the relationships he once had. Slowly with the patient and loving help of his brother's family he recovers mentally and begins to build a relationship with his young son and then eventually to repair partly the tragedy of his relationship with his former wife.
Their story tells of the corrosive nature of possessive jealously and Travis,the lost man finds some sort of redemption in unselfishly reuniting his wife and son. Terrestrial TV shows so many rubbish films but rarely films of this moving quality. I watched it once on TV years ago ,never forgot it, and was very grateful to find it again on my dvd rental service. Wondeful.