Wenders thinks up intelligent message

October 17, 1997|By Desmond Ryan | Desmond Ryan,KNIGHT-RIDDER NEWS SERVICE

In "The End of Violence," German director Wim Wenders ("Paris, Texas") has crafted a provocative work that is at its best in considering those who reap immense profits by purveying images of violence.

The movie has its faults -- most notably in bending its plot and the behavior of its characters to support an appeal for radical changes in attitude -- but it is better than its release history suggested. It drew withering scorn at last spring's Cannes Film Festival, and Wenders drastically re-edited it.

Bill Pullman plays an enormously successful Hollywood producer known for ultra-violent thrillers who ignores his bored wife (Andie MacDowell). Gabriel Byrne is a scientist who controls a network of surveillance cameras meant to smother street crime. When the producer is kidnapped, their lives begin to intersect.

The way Wenders makes the lines converge owes more to moral geometry and his message than credible motivation. But at least Wenders has an intelligent reason. His thoughts in "The End of Violence" merit a wide hearing.

'The End of Violence'

Starring Bill Pullman, Andie MacDowell and Gabriel Byrne

Directed by Wim Wenders

Released by MGM

Rated R (language, adult themes)

Sun score: ** 1/2

Pub Date: 10/17/97

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