Don't Come Knocking

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The ViewAuckland Review

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Review byMatthew Turner26/04/2006

Four out of Five stars
Running time: 111 mins

An engaging drama with strong performances and gorgeous photography, this a minor return to form for director Wim Wenders.

What’s it all about?
Sam Shepherd (who also wrote the script) plays Howard Spence, an ageing cowboy actor who rides off the set of his current Western, just ahead of a nervous breakdown. He heads to Nevada and seeks refuge with his mother (Eva Marie Saint), whom he hasn’t seen in several years.

However, when his mother tells him that an old flame of his fathered his child after a movie-shoot fling twenty years ago, Howard heads to Montana and encounters both his ex-lover (Jessica Lange) and his petulant song-writing son (Gabriel Mann).

The Good
There are deliberate echoes of Paris, Texas (also written by Shepherd) in Don’t Come Knocking and that’s no bad thing. It also has a superb soundtrack by T Bone Burnett and gorgeous photography, courtesy of cinematographer Franz Lustig.

Shepherd’s fascinating script captures the painful reality of people who are simply unable to communicate with each other – this is initially frustrating but the end result is surprisingly moving.

The Great
The performances are excellent. Shepherd is perfectly cast as his inexpressive face gives nothing away and keeps us guessing as to his true feelings. There’s good work from Lange and Mann as well as strong support from both the ever-reliable Sarah Polley and Fairuza Balk, typecast as a skanky girlfriend yet again.

Worth seeing?
In short, this is an engaging, emotionally complex film with strong performances and visually arresting location work. Recommended.

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Don't Come Knocking
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Content updated: 18/10/2019 06:29

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