M S Krishna Prateek’s review published on Letterboxd:
"Every man... has your _____."
I watched many genre-bender films, but today in Paris, Texas, I watched a genre-bender scene that too where the characters stay at rest and in turn moved me emotionally as well as physically to a galaxy far, far away. I watched many investigative thrillers, but the last one hour of Paris, Texas kept me on the edge-of-the-seat perhaps way more than any of them. I watched many films with ambiguous endings, but Paris, Texas is a film where the word ambiguous is an understatement to the ending given to each of its characters. I feel like I can comprehend even the complex Big Bang Theory (recounted by Hunter) after going through some reads, but to comprehend the level of complexity this film has driven home in terms of human emotions, it needs a whole new level of experience that comes only from life and hence I don't even wish to ask Wim Winders (who turned 75 yesterday) for an explanation because I'm damn sure even his writers-duo will not have answers and that's how cruelly complex life can get on the way!
I want to talk about many scenes in this film, but I don't want to do so even by tagging a spoiler alert as at least one of you may trespass the sign and go ahead to read and this is a film I can't put to words how rewarding it will be if you go in all-blind! Beware of the initial slow pace of Paris, Texas as if you find yourself complaining about it halfway through the film, vent it out then and there itself because you will not even have a moment to breathe once the film starts accelerating on a whole new emotional pace and the last one hour of this film is truly the pinnacle of edge-of-the-seat less-is-more Cinema!
Colour grading is the usual term, but if you pick any frame from Paris, Texas, every nook and cranny in it will be Colour-connected to the characters present in it, especially in the reds or the red-white-blue scheme of the American flag or the Greens (Never have I ever experienced such mixed feelings in a moment while seeing my favourite colour on-screen), so much so that I wondered how much was the time taken on the production design front to achieve such precision and one has to see it to believe it for how meticulously handpainted every frame appears in this film! The tonal shift in Cinematography here is an absolute masterwork, right From the shots of a vast deserted world filled with emptiness To the shots of the small place containing a whole world within it visually as well as emotionally. Lighting plays a character in the film literally as well as cinematically and Ry Cooder's guitar riffs are a whole mood in themselves besides being in line with the mood of the narrative.
All the things Shoplifters made me contemplate about the concept of a family came back to me again while watching this film and in this regard, Shoplifters completes a thought-provoking double feature with Paris, Texas. I don't know if it was an intentional tribute or not from Kore-eda's side, but the place or the setting where the main scene of Paris, Texas happens is also present in Shoplifters.
On the whole, no matter how long is the road upon which one travels, it has to end at some point and by taking me for a ride on the literal road as well as the metaphorical road to redemption, Paris, Texas dropped me at one of the most unexpected places from where I am writing this to inform you that I've come to a dead-end despite the diversion taken by its protagonist driver. I felt cute on Trav's part while explaining the (car)"wreck" possibility to his son, but little did I know of the bigger heart wreck planned on the road ahead!