The End of Violence: ?? / !

I watched Wim Wenders’s The End of Violence (1997), a couple nights ago, in lieu of sleep.

I want to say it was just another bizarre car accident of a movie. but I’m not sure that’s right. a train wreck? boating mishap?

Interesting story points, interesting ideas, and some fun actors. But the music is awful (a parody?), and it seems shot like a straight to video student film. The tone, visuals, and audio, all felt like one of those annoying indie films about how hard it is to find love in LA while trying to get a job. Like Stephen Dorff’s Entropy. …? I guess I should say that was Phil Joanou’s film. (oh shit, that movie came out after this one! and also had some music by Bono) (full disclosure: I own Entropy. Because my mom randomly bought it for me for unknown reasons when I was in college).

EndoVilence Definitely has some strange choices in its favor (like a movie set run by the delightfully creepy Udo Kier, which is designed and lit to evoke the classic painting “Nighthawks”. When the actress expresses confusion over her lines, Udo just growls “I want to fuck you”. which is in fact her line. but … its probably the coolest moment in the whole flic? OH SHIT, SPOILE)

For some reason they cast celebrated director Samuel Fuller as Gabriel Byrne’s dad. while he looks like a sad old man, i couldn’t help but wonder at every nuance of his performance. Was he maybe a little senile at this point? Just a really bad actor? Were they stealing takes while he was distracted? or was he actually blowing everyone away with his amazing REALNESS? For some reason each of his scenes feels like outtakes of a wild animal, with Byrne patiently improvising along. or something.


The movie reminds me a lot of Lost Highway, in that it’s a film noir set in hollywood, starring bill pullman. so there’s that. Both movies came out in 1997. Weird? (full disclosure: Pullman starred in both David Lynch’s and Wim Wenders’s film noirs, in the same year? my respect for him just quadrupled).
Part of me feels like I should recommend eViol to everyone who loves Lost Highway, just as a supporting/contrasting material. (full disclosure: Lost Highway was my favorite movie for many years)

A couple elements heavily reminded me of Mulholland Dr. as well (the movie set scenes, and the straight laced cop marveling at the depravity around him, without getting any on him. This character somehow reminded me of the director in Mullholland. I guess because they both end up drawn to the complicated actress?).

EnViolencia also has an interesting subplot about government financed security monitoring innovations. Which was either cool scifi or so fantasy-silly as to be spiritual. Not sure. To me, it felt most like a parable for “what kind of god might be watching over the people of LA?”
There is also a kind of painful subplot about the poor Mexicans of LA, and how rad they really are. Which was muddled by some bad acting (I’m mostly thinking of Henry Silva. For some reason I can never believe that guy when he plays “nice normal guy.” He always makes me think of Jack Palance on crack.), a group of “magic Mexicans” acting like keystone cops at a Kinkos to save the day, and an over-the-top twist on a cleaning lady’s past.

but I keep thinking about the movie. mostly in the context of “did I give that movie a fair shot? Is it wrong to think most of it was incompetent?” (when you keep thinking those kinds of thoughts, it’s usually a sign. Like when you keep wondering if that german shepherd you ran over had a fair shot. or was maybe actually a belgian tervuren?)

p.s. Andie mcdowell struck me as really hot in this movie. But I was also really struck that I’m not sure she can act. it might be some kind of “accentism,” but she has this bizarre drawl drizzled all over her voice, which made most of her deliveries seem awkward. I thought. huh. (or is she a GREAT actress, actually blowing everyone away?). Full disclosure: I didn’t realize this was a film noir until we got to see her reduced to standing around in some sexy underwear, holding a gun on someone who had snuck into her ritzy clifftop mansion; trying to decide whether to murder them or love them. Probably the second best scene in the whole picture.

P.S. this movie has at least two beat poetry sequences. I somehow keep blocking that out when I look back onit. I have a real problem with the whole concept of serious beat poetry gatherings. (I distinctly remember wondering if The Big Lebowski’s silly theater performance scene was mocking this movie’s beat poetry performance scenes). but. I guess the deliveries were pretty good. eh uh. hmm.

what a strange movie.


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