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END OF VIOLENCE, THE

SYNOPSIS:
Mike Max (Bill Pullman) is a big-time Hollywood producer who's so busy that he has little time for the woman in his life, Paige Stockard (Andie Macdowell). Ray Bering (Gabriel Byrne) is a former NASA worker who now mans a top-secret surveillance system that watches over the streets of Los Angeles and will be violently used to stop street crimes. After Ray sends Mike a top secret file detailing what he's involved with, two men try to kill Mike, but end up being killed themselves. Mike then goes on the run, fearful for his life and he thinks that the police will accuse him of killing the two men. Meanwhile Ray tries to find footage of the murders, but his access is denied and a shadowy government agent, Brice Phelps (Daniel Benzali), gets suspicious of him. As Mike tries to find out what's going on with the assistance of Cat (Traci Lind), a stuntwoman turned actress, things get more dangerous for him and for Ray.

"Like the flats that can create a small town in wild west movies, filmmakers can create thematic edifices that seem impressive – until you walk in and find there is nothing on the other side of the door. That’s how I feel about The End of Violence, a film by a man whose intelligence, frequent bouts of creative brilliance and prodigious filmmaking flair are not in question. But like many European directors, he has fallen into the trap of believing he is a psychologist. He is not. He is a film director. There is no point in trying to explore a social theme unless you can be very lucid. He is not. The second problem for Wenders in this film is his subject: violence and its associated evils have been so widely discussed and dissected in film – especially with Los Angeles as the town and Hollywood as the base – that we are in perennial ‘been there’ mode. For example: the watcher as the watched; the misplaced motivations of secret goons; the coincidences that let characters overlap events with which they are not connected by any thread available to the audience; the jump cuts from close up to an alien scene; the woman as bait/whore/spy/victim/mother. . . In short, the film was made too fast, with too few drafts to match the cinematic bravura of a man like Wenders. But for all its source weaknesses, the film is not all bad; I enjoyed much of it on a purely superficial sort of level, images, sound and performance giving it access to my psyche, and occasionally responding (in mild surprise) to Bill Pullman's performance, the only truly moving role I’ve seen him in."
Andrew L. Urban

"The End of Violence is a classy looking film with intriguing ideas which sadly never reach a satisfactory conclusion. Positioned somewhere between a thriller and an art-house film, fantasy and reality are interwoven into the plot, which, while fascinating at times, is bogged down by messages and stereotypes - although Wenders claims it is not a ‘message film’. The film is a mélange of both riveting and inconsequential moments, which promise heaps, but deliver little more than frustration. Bill Pullman effectively plays both the high-tech Hollywood producer and the confused fugitive, while Gabriel Byrne is convincingly complex as the solitary ex-NASA scientist, who spends most of his waking hours high above Los Angeles, observing life below. Andie McDowell is fine as the bored neglected, rich wife, but is not as convincing when she becomes a clone of her work - obsessed powerful husband. Magnetic at times, tedious at others, Ry Cooder’s funky soundtrack tantalises throughout enigmatically while we weave in and out of different worlds. There are certainly many images and concepts to contemplate, many parts of the film to discuss. Wenders is a talented film maker; perhaps he was trying to be too clever with this one."
Louise Keller

"Wim Wenders and his screenwriter put this together in a month, when another film they were working on fell through. And it shows. It's a curious work, one which has many a fine moment, but somehow, as a whole, it's lacking in something. There are some fascinating ideas here, from the Wenders' exploration of violence in Hollywood, to paranoia and obsession, but it's as if he's tried to make several films, getting all of his ideas out there, yet never fully exploring any of them. The scenes with Gabrielle Byrne (who delivers the most lifeless performance in the film) are poorly handled and dull, while the sequences featuring Bill Pullman, and his complex transformation from powerful producer to humble gardener, are far more satisfying. Had Wenders stuck with that, he would have made a far more interesting film. There are certainly some haunting moments, and it's visually striking, but it lacks a sense of purpose, and never achieves its full potential."
Paul Fischer

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END OF VIOLENCE, THE (M)
(US)

CAST: Bill Pullman, Andie MacDowell, Gabriel Byrne, Loren Dean, Traci Lind, Daniel Benzali, K. Todd Freeman, John Diehl, Pruitt Taylor Vince, Peter Horton, Udo Kier, Enrique Castillo, Nicole Parker, Rosalind Chao, Marison Padilla Sanchez, Marshall Bell, Frederic Forrest, Henry Silva, Samuel Fuller

PRODUCER: Deepak Nayar, Wim Wenders, Nicholas Klein

DIRECTOR: Wim Wenders

SCRIPT: Nicholas Klein (based on a story by Klein, Wenders)

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Pascal Rabaud

EDITOR: Peter Przgodda

MUSIC: Ry Cooder

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Patricia Norris

RUNNING TIME: 122 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Globe

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: January 8, 1998


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