Directed by: Wim Wenders
Countries & Regions: France, Germany, United States
Studio: Axiom Films
Length: 123 mins
Region: Region 2
Released: 14 July 2008
Cat No: AXM573
Screen ratio 1:1.78
Dolby Digital 2.0, Dolby Digital 5.1
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The American Friend
Dennis Hopper plays a seedy underworld figure who persuades an innocent, honest family man (Bruno Ganz) to become an assassin. Sam Fuller... Read More
Having reworked the road movie in many of his earliest outings, Wim Wenders tackled another Hollywood sub-genre, film noir, in this adaptation of Patricia Highsmith's pulp novel, Ripley's Game. But rather than signalling a new departure, it actually marked a return to the crime format
that had informed such 1960s shorts as Same Player Shoots Again. Indeed,Robby Müller's photography recalls that 16mm film's use of expressive colour, although Wenders has since conceded that the paintings of Edward Hopper also had a significant influence on the visual style.
Comparisons will doubtless be made with Liliana Cavani's forthcoming take (starring John Malkovich and Dougray Scott) on the story of a dying man who agrees to become an assassin to provide for his family. But Wenders is less
interested in the Hitchcockian plotline than in the generic conventions of the Hollywood crime picture. As ever, his prime preoccupation is with US cultural imperialism and the extent to which cinema has come to shape not only our consciousness, but also our image of reality and ourselves - hence the ease with which the cowboy-hatted Dennis Hopper can persuade picture framer Bruno Ganz to emerge from his cosy domesticity and envision himself as a killer.
Wenders's fascination with Tinseltown also partly explains his selection of directors Nicholas Ray and Samuel Fuller as mobsters, although he later joked that he cast them `because they were the only rascals I know, and the only ones who make life and death decisions as easily as the Mafia'.
The American Friend is a most stimulating film
to experience, both, intellectually and visually.
Both Purple Noon and the former film balance each
other beautifully in the telling of the dark
adventures of "The Talented Mr.Ripley", something
the film of the same title failed miserably to do.
Dennis Hopper and Bruno Ganz shine in the leading
roles and Nicholas Ray in a cameo part as the
supposingly dead painter equally holds his screen
time admirably. Congratulation to Wim Wenders.