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Writer/Actor Sam Shepard (The Right Stuff, Black Hawk Down) And Director Wim Wenders (Buena Vista Social Club) Reunite For Their First Collaboration Since The Critically Acclaimed Paris, Texas In This Tale Of A Washed Up Hollywood Star Who Finds A Ray Of Hope When He Discovers That He Might Have A Grown-Up Child In Montana.
With Don't Come Knocking, Wim Wenders revisits territory, both literal and metaphorical, first explored in Paris, Texas. Not only does he return to the Southwest, but Sam Shepard is back as co-writer. This time, he's also the star. His Howard Spence is a movie cowboy who's had enough. One day while working in Monument Valley, he takes off his boots and hops a train to Nevada to see his mother (Eva Marie Saint, lovely as ever). Little does he know that Sutter (Tim Roth), a by-the-books bondsman, is hot on his trail. Next, Spence travels to Montana where a sad young woman named Sky (Sarah Polley) is recovering from a recent death, while an angry young man named Earl (Gabriel Mann), who sounds much like Chris Isaak, plies the troubadour trade. Spence doesn't know it yet, but they're the results of a rambunctious past that will soon "come knocking," as it were. While in Butte, he also catches up with Doreen (Jessica Lange), a lover from many moons ago. Clearly, Don't Come Knocking is Wenders and Shepard in a reflective mood, even more so than in Paris, Texas, as Spence is older and has more regrets than Harry Dean Stanton's Travis. It doesn't leave as much of an impression, but the film is a worthy addition to the post-modern Western canon. Shot by Franz Lustig, it's frames are filled with intense hues--fiery reds, glowing greens--and a plaintive score by T-Bone Burnett. --Kathleen C. Fennessy
From The New Yorker
This bittersweet Western blues, directed by Wim Wenders from a script by Sam Shepard, is a minor-key delight. Shepard plays Howard Spence, an aging star of Western films and a legendary tabloid troublemaker who wants out: he sneaks off the set and finds his mother (Eva Marie Saint, in a performance of remarkably high relief), whom he hasn't seen in more than thirty years. She lets slip a word about his son, whom he has never met, and he heads for Butte, Montana, to look for him. What Spence finds there requires some suspension of disbeliefnot just his son, Earl (Gabriel Mann), and Earl's mother (Jessica Lange) but also a daughter, Sky (the gossamer Sarah Polley), whom he had with another woman; it's as if no one in Butte around 1980 had ever heard of a paternity suit. The faith in the implausible is rewarded. Shepard's sharp writing memorably delineates the quartet's quirky struggles to connect, and though Wenders, a former master of understatement, overplays the big moments with visual frills, he keeps the outer and inner journeys in delicate balance. Despite the film's false notes, its ballad-like moods ring true.
Copyright © 2006 The New Yorker