Dir Wim Wenders, 2005, DE/FR/GB/US (111 mins)
Sam Shepard, Jessica Lange, Tim Roth
The set of an unnamed Western is thrown into chaos when Howard Spence (Shepard), seasoned actor and carouser goes AWOL. Hired by the film insurance company, a fastidious private detective (Roth) sets out on his trail. But having spent thirty years playing cowboys, not even Spence knows where he’s heading, and the film charts his befuddled odyssey and subsequent wrangles with unexpected paternity.
As the drink-addled and inarticulate hero, Shepard, collaborating with Wenders again after their success with 1984’s Paris, Texas, offers us a man lacking in agency away from the rigour of a shooting schedule. And following his cue, the whole film drifts and mooches, in no hurry to reach a destination.
Instead, the pleasures offered are of landscapes without maps. The desert and small town Americana are rendered spellbindingly as Spence’s psyche unfurls, while an anchor is found in the classy performance from Jessica Lange as his old flame. Kate Taylor