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End of Violence, The (1997, Bill Pullman, Andie MacDowell)

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Continuing his post-mortem of American culture, Wim Wenders contributes a timely and typically unique slant on the impact of the Dream Factory. Mike Max (BILL PULLMAN) is a Hollywood hot-shot producer tethered to his cellphone and focused on the making of Violence, another low-rent bloodletting epic to add to an undistinguished career. His marriage is a sham, with shy wife Paige (ANDIE MacDOWELL) lonely and angry and neither partner fulfilled.

Driving home one night, Mike is attacked, barely surviving an attempted robbery. Traumatised, he looks at life anew, reassessing his contribution to society and seeking a period of extended contemplation at the home of a party of Latino immigrants. Meanwhile, scientist Ray Bering (GABRIEL BYRNE) nears completion of a surveillance project whose supposed aim – to cut crime – hides a darker agenda and confirms his worst fears of government interference. Mike’s disappearance remains unsolved, with Detective Brock (LOREN DEAN) leading the case. Interviewing Cat, a starlet and former Max protégé (TRACI LIND), the pair become attracted and separate lives entwine.

Max’s epiphany reflects Wenders’ growing distaste for Hollywood’s amorality. Instead, he dissects the audience’s fascination with brutality to deliver a challenging verdict on mob culture (hence the appearance of Shock Corridor director SAM FULLER in a cameo). This proved to be commercially unacceptable, with Wenders unable to repeat the success of his best films – Paris, Texas and Wings of Desire – until Buena Vista Social Club rehabilitated his reputation.

production details
cast
Bill Pullman as Mike Max
Andie MacDowell as Page
Gabriel Byrne as Ray Bering
Traci Lind as Cat
Rosalind Chao as Claire
K. Todd Freeman as Six O One
Chris Douridas as Technician
Pruitt Taylor Vince as Frank Cray
John Diehl as Lowell Lewis
Soledad St. Hilaire as Anita
Nicole Ari Parker as Ade
Daniel Benzali as Brice Phelps
Samuel Fuller as Louis Bering
Marshall Bell as Sheriff Call
Frederic Forrest as Ranger MacDermot
Henry Silva as Juan Emilio
Udo Kier as Zoltan Kovacs
Sam Phillips as Singer
Kerry Rossall as Featured Performer
Loren Dean as
Marisol Padilla Sánchez as Mathilda
O-Lan Jones as Barmaid

crew details
Director: Wim Wenders
Script: Wim Wenders/ Nicholas Klein

France – Germany – USA | 122 minutes | 1997

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