Directed by: Wim Wenders
Countries & Regions: United States
Studio: Studio Canal
Length: 93 mins
Region: Region 2
Released: 7 November 2011
Cat No: OPTD2043
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Wim Wenders directs this noir mystery set in 1940s San Francisco. Evocatively recreating the mood of the genre, the plot, based on the... Read More
Beautiful and strangely dreamlike, Hammett floats along like the stylish, tobacco-tinted ghost of an old film noir.
Set in 1940s San Francisco, it follows the exploits of real-life crime-writer Dashiell Hammett as he becomes involved in a complex missing person case. Wisecracks are cracked, shadows are boxed, femmes are fatale. Seldom has the figure of the hard-bitten private eye been so likeable as Frederic Forrest’s Hammett, but he heads a classy cast that includes actors from Hollywood’s heyday, including Elisha Cook Jr, Sylvia Sidney and Hank Worden.
Hammett has come close to slipping off Wim Wenders’ official CV, owing to its troubled production: Francis Ford Coppola hired Wenders to direct it, but on seeing the result, demanded that a great amount of it be re-shot – a task he undertook himself, according to some accounts.
Hardly surprising, then, that the look of Hammett – with gorgeous cinematography and painstakingly designed studio sets – is reminiscent of Coppola’s work of the period. But perhaps one sees Wenders’ hand in the restrained performances, and Forrest’s Zen-like calm.