The American Friend (Wenders, 1977)
Atmosphere, atmosphere, atmosphere – that is what drives this film and makes it worth what it is. Absent is the emotional value of Wenders’ best films, especially considering this involves a man with a terminal illness trying to make things better for his family once he is gone. I guess one could say it’s easy to get overly sentimental with that premise which could be a reason why Wenders elects to take the cold emotional path. But even when done intentionally, that style is personally less fulfilling, even if it is the safe route in this case.
But as I was saying before, the atmosphere makes up for it. The moody setting, music, and gorgeous use of an array of colors (and jaw-dropping cinematography all together) make it so that, quite frankly, it didn’t really matter what was happening on-screen. I just found myself floating through this odd story in sort of a strange peaceful bliss (and that’s quite something considering the plot consists of several murders). Dennis Hopper is also delightful as an odd eccentric ‘American friend’ to the protagonist. He always seemed to make an appearance just as the film was beginning to lull. 8.25/10