Paris, Texas

"Extraordinary"

Paris, Texas Review


There is a mysticism that enshrouds Paris. The grand cityscape of the Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe situated on the River Seine gives the city of lights its romanticism. But in Paris, Texas, there is only a desolate plot of land that holds the dreams of Travis Henderson. And though the earth is scorched and he has never seen the lot, except in a picture he carries with him, it is no less important. It's this dichotomy between the universal, romantic reminiscence of Paris, France, and Travis' Paris that drives him to reconnect with his 10-year-old son and estranged girlfriend.

Wim Wender's film opens with Travis wandering in a Texas desert. Lost for four years, Travis' brother, Walt, travels to Texas to claim him and takes him back to Los Angeles where Walt lives with his wife and Travis' son. Given Travis' absence, his son has all but forgotten about him -- causing Travis to clean up his act and get his life back in order. Given that Travis doesn't say a word for the first 20 minutes of the film, it's a little bizarre when the film focuses solely on him in the second and third acts -- turning a blind eye to Walt and his wife, who have been moving the story along for the first half.

Yet, this shift in focus is what allows the film to break free from the family melodrama and develop the thematic underpinnings of Travis' hopes of becoming a father and reconciling with his old girlfriend. But Travis has it all backwards -- he puts on different clothes to determine the type of father he wants to be, pulls his son away from his surrogate mother and father to drive back to Texas to find his stripper mother. His quest for closure begins with a dream and ends with reality. People don't change, they try to escape -- by wandering the desert or becoming a glorified stripper, as in the case of Travis and his girlfriend -- but the dreams of Paris fade into the static landscape of Paris, Texas.

Given that desolate landscape mirrors Travis' stark reality, it's odd, at first, that Wenders paints the film with such stunning imagery. Using green, red, yellow, and orange filters, the Texan colors vibrate, resonating on screen like a foreign civilization that isn't too far from our own. Yet, this visually-stunning landscape is still harsh and unforgiving. The only problem is that the picture is incomplete.

While Travis is off searching for something he can never have -- fatherhood, a marriage -- Wenders abandons Walt and his wife, even after they question what they would do if their adopted son, Travis' son, were to leave them. When he does, there's nothing but an abrupt phone call to console them. But Wenders doesn't explore their childless reality; that their dream of a family is over. It's a minor complaint considering that Travis' dilemma is far more interesting and, in two and half hours, the story line takes its time to develop, but never drags. It's the evolution of a dream and the discovery of reality.



Paris, Texas

Facts and Figures

Run time: 147 mins

In Theaters: Wednesday 19th September 1984

Box Office Worldwide: $2.2M

Budget: $1.7M

Distributed by: 20th Century Fox

Production compaines: Argos Films, Road Movies Filmproduktion, Westdeutscher Rundfunk (WDR), Channel Four Films, Pro-ject Filmproduktion

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 100%
Fresh: 27

IMDB: 8.1 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Travis, as Jane, as Walt, as Hunter, as Anne, as Doctor Ulmer, as Slater

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Imperium Movie Review

Imperium Movie Review

First-time filmmaker Daniel Ragussis takes an unusual approach to this thriller. Since it's based on...

The Girl With All the Gifts Movie Review

The Girl With All the Gifts Movie Review

Like a 10-years-later follow-up to 28 Days Later, this small British thriller takes a refreshingly...

The Magnificent Seven Movie Review

The Magnificent Seven Movie Review

Director Antoine Fuqua brings his usual fascination with violence to this remake of the iconic...

Bridget Jones's Baby Movie Review

Bridget Jones's Baby Movie Review

As it's been 12 years since the last Bridget Jones movie, expectations aren't too high...

The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years Movie Review

The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years Movie Review

A-list director Ron Howard worked with the surviving Beatles to assemble this engaging documentary, which...

Blair Witch Movie Review

Blair Witch Movie Review

It's been 17 years since The Blair Witch Project shook up the cinema and created...

Anthropoid Movie Review

Anthropoid Movie Review

Outside the Czech Republic, few people know about Operation Anthropoid, a spy mission in 1943...

Advertisement
Kubo and the Two Strings Movie Review

Kubo and the Two Strings Movie Review

From Laika (The Boxtrolls), this is one of the most beautiful, sophisticated animated films in...

Captain Fantastic Movie Review

Captain Fantastic Movie Review

An offbeat comedy-drama with a timely kick, this charming family road trip takes on some...

Hell or High Water Movie Review

Hell or High Water Movie Review

Sicario screenwriter Taylor Sheridan delivers another fiercely intelligent, engaging story that maintains high suspense while...

The 9th Life of Louis Drax Movie Review

The 9th Life of Louis Drax Movie Review

With heavy overtones of Hitchcockian mystery and intrigue, this stylish thriller is the enjoyably melodramatic...

Kickboxer: Vengeance Movie Review

Kickboxer: Vengeance Movie Review

The 1989 Muay Thai action movie Kickboxer starred a young Jean-Claude Van Damme, who pops...

Julieta Movie Review

Julieta Movie Review

Iconic Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodovar is back with another powerfully complex female-centred drama, along the...

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Movie Review

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Movie Review

An astute satire of the pop music business, this raucous mock-documentary is consistently hilarious from...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.