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The End of Violence Movie Review

mike max wenders director

The End of Violence disappointed Wim Wenders fans who wanted it to be another Paris, Texas or Wings of Desire, but Wings of Desire did nothing for me, unlike The End of Violence. It's an absorbing story with an extremely interesting cast. Bill Pullman is Mike Max, a director who gets kidnapped at gunpoint by two idiots who wind up with their heads blown off and not by Mike Max. He escapes into a low-key life with a family headed by Juan Emilio (Henry Silva, who hasn't aged much since 1962's The Manchurian Candidate). Paige Stockard (Andie MacDowell) is Mad Mike's wife, who was planning to leave him before the kidnapping. She takes over his business interests and finds a new guy. The surprise of the film is Traci Lind as Cat, an injured stuntwoman who becomes an actress after Mike Max takes an interest in her career. Lind steals every scene she's in, no mean feat when Udo Keir as her director Zoltan Koyacs is talking dirty to her. (I guess it's a step up from his smallish roles in Breaking the Waves and Barb Wire.) Daniel Benzali is typecast as a creepy-looking shadowy figure in a suit named Brice Phelps. Samuel Fuller plays Louis Bering, Gabriel Byrne's father! Now THAT's a stretch. Byrne is Ray, who knows more than he ever tells about the kidnapping of Mike Max. Loren Dean as Doc Block (he looks like a young Chris Isaak) investigates AND gets to meet Cat! Yeah, it is pretty complicated and you do have to pay attention, but the dots eventually connect. Wenders makes the 122-minute running time worth your while and gets terrific performances out of every actor, down to the tiniest bit part. And Ry Cooder (who also composed the Paris, Texas soundtrack) comes up with another effective score. All this and Pascal Rabaud's stunning camera work, too? Who needs an Angel in the Pizza Parlor?

1997 (R) 122m/C FR Bill Pullman, Gabriel Byrne, Andie MacDowell, Daniel Benzali, Traci Lind, Rosalind Chao, Loren Dean, Nicole Parker, Enrique Castillo, K. Todd Freeman, John Diehl, Pruitt Taylor Vince, Peter Horton, Udo Kier, Marshall Bell, Frederic Forrest, Henry Silva, Samuel Fuller; D: Wim Wenders; W: Nicholas Klein; C: Pascal Rabaud; M: Ry Cooder. Nominations: Independent Spirit Awards ‘98: Best Director (Wenders). VHS, Closed Caption, DVD

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