The American Friend

"Good"

The American Friend Review


Ripley's Game the third novel (of five) in Patricia Highsmith's Tom Ripley series, and thus it marks a semingly strange choice for Wim Wenders to jump right into the mythology. (The Talented Mr. Ripley and Purple Noon are both based on the first book.) Then again, Ripley's Game will become a feature film again later this year, starring John Malkovich.

On the other hand, the book stands on its own fairly well, namely because it doesn't have an awful lot to do with Ripley himself. As the story goes: We find Ripley (played by a cowboy hat-toting Dennis Hopper) later in life, working a career in art sales/forgery. He makes the acquaintance of a dying picture framer named Zimmermann (Bruno Ganz - dig the 'stache!), and eventually coerces him (through asssociates) into performing a contract murder for a large sum of money, meant to set up his family after his death.

Naturally, complications arise.

Directed by Wim Wenders (Wings of Desire), The American Friend is as deliberate as The Talented Mr. Ripley is frenetic. It's a much different pace than you'd expect from this kind of material but which Wenders knows all too well. The film ends up as a set piece for Ganz, with Hopper playing a considerably smaller role than you'd expect. Wenders just never generates the desperation Zimmermann needs to make this story work. The result is a slow burn that slowly peters out instead of grows into a bonfire.

The cinematography is both bleak and pretty -- bouncing between Paris and postwar Germany. The editing is appropriate, though it lets the scenes drag on too long. Watch for directors Nicholas Ray (Rebel Without a Cause) and Samuel Fuller (Shock Corridor) in small roles.

Newly released on DVD, Wenders and Hopper add a commentary track, plus the disc adds over half an hour of deleted scenes (with optional commentary as well), all run together and, interestingly, set to the movie's thriller-ish theme music. It's almost a mini-film of test shots and side stories that sort of stands on its own.

Aka Der Amerikanische Freund.



The American Friend

Facts and Figures

Run time: 125 mins

In Theaters: Friday 24th June 1977

Distributed by: New Yorker Films

Production compaines: Bavaria Film, Filmverlag der Autoren, Les Films du Losange, Road Movies Filmproduktion GmbH, Westdeutscher Rundfunk (WDR), Wim Wenders Productions

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 88%
Fresh: 14 Rotten: 2

IMDB: 7.4 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer:

Starring: as Tom Ripley, as Jonathan Zimmermann, as Marianne Zimmermann, Gérard Blain as Raoul Minot, as Derwatt, as Der Amerikaner, Peter Lilienthal as Marcangelo, Daniel Schmid as Igraham, Sandy Whitelaw as Arzt in Paris

Also starring:

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

After the thunderous reception for J.J. Abrams' Episode VII: The Force Awakens two years ago,...

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Like the 2015 original, this comedy plays merrily with cliches to tell a silly story...

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

There's a somewhat contrived jauntiness to this blending of fact and fiction that may leave...

Ferdinand Movie Review

Ferdinand Movie Review

This animated comedy adventure is based on the beloved children's book, which was published in...

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Director Dave McCary makes a superb feature debut with this offbeat black comedy, which explores...

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

A dramatisation of the real-life clash between tennis icons Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs,...

Shot Caller Movie Review

Shot Caller Movie Review

There isn't much subtlety to this prison thriller, but it's edgy enough to hold the...

Advertisement
The Disaster Artist Movie Review

The Disaster Artist Movie Review

A hilariously outrageous story based on real events, this film recounts the making of the...

Stronger Movie Review

Stronger Movie Review

Based on a true story about the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, this looks like one...

Only the Brave Movie Review

Only the Brave Movie Review

Based on a genuinely moving true story, this film undercuts the realism by pushing its...

Wonder Movie Review

Wonder Movie Review

This film may be based on RJ Palacio's fictional bestseller, but it approaches its story...

Happy End  Movie Review

Happy End Movie Review

Austrian auteur Michael Haneke isn't known for his light touch, but rather for hard-hitting, award-winning...

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Seemingly from out of nowhere, this film generates perhaps the biggest smile of any movie...

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

A Victorian thriller with rather heavy echoes of Jack the Ripper, this film struggles to...

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.