Paris, Texas ★★★★½

Film 89 of 2018

I don't think you can really deny that the fingerprints of European filmmaking are all over "Paris, Texas", but in the end (and I do mean in the end) they make for an incredibly rewarding cinematic journey.

That's probably how I would best describe Wim Wender's "Paris, Texas", a journey. Viewing the first shots of Harry Dean Stanton's Travis Henderson stumbling through the South Texas desert I hadn't the slightest expectation of where this film would take me and it truly seemed to take me far. It turns out, what starts out as this super surreal film with a seemingly mute man in this weird border community with a strange German doctor turns into an incredibly, incredibly moving film about a deeply broken family somehow fighting to meld itself back together (at least sort of).

Harry Dean Stanton really does steal the show in this film. His performance is touching and quirky and melancholy and just outstanding (making his last film "Lucky" feel ever the more touching in retrospect). But I don't want to distract from other solid performances. We don't see Nastassja Kinski until rather late, but she is just as strong as Stanton in her scenes with him. I was also pretty impressed by Hunter Carson, one of the better child actor performances I've seen. That said, I personally did find Dean Stockwell and Aurore Clement's performances to be a tad distracting and maybe even overacted...

The final 40 minutes or so are everything they are billed up to be. For the rest of the film, I wasn't sure if deciding to watch "Paris, Texas" would pay off or not. There was no question I had made the right choice by the end. Just beautiful. Beautiful writing, beautiful shots, and beautiful acting.