'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.