Caught between Earth and Sky
- Durrkk | Ohio/PA border USA | 06/24/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
""Don't Come Knocking" tells the story of a 60-year-old B-Western film star (Sam Shepard) who is sick of a meaningless carnal existence, which is highlighted by almost continuous indulgence in booze, babes and brawls. While on a film set in Utah he seems to say "F*** it all!" jumps on a horse and flees, searching for something. What? Something deeper than what he knows and definitely a stronger reason to exist. He soon learns he has a son he never knew about from a fling over 20 years before. So he goes to Butte, Montana, where he gets reaquainted with his ex-girlfriend (Jessica Lange) and meets both a son (Gabriel Mann) and daughter (Sarah Polley). But this is hardly a warm reunion, hence the title "Don't Come Knocking." Meanwhile the film company sends an eccentric bounty hunter (Tim Roth) to fetch Shepard for breach of contract.
The film is highlighted by magnificent Western locations and a nice modern Country/Western/Rockish score (non-twangy).
Although this is generally a quiet drama, it has a hip and likable artistic flair.
We can all relate to Shepard's search on some level; hence, despite the film's slow drama it easily maintains the viewer's attention throughout its 1 hour 50 minute runtime, unless you grew up on MTV and "Armageddon," of course.
Anyway, Shepard's two kids in the film, Earl and Sky, represent two extremes. Earl's name is fitting because he's full of volcanic rage that spits out from deep within the Earth (Earl/Earth, get it?). Sky, on the other hand, is completely spiritual in nature (hence, sky/heaven). She's full of warmth, love, compassion and forgiveness. In fact, she's the crucial Christ figure without which there would be little reconciliation for anyone in the story.
Take note of the scene where Sky meets her father in his hotel room. Sky just looks at her dad with the understanding eyes of divine love. This naturally makes Shepard uncomfortable; he's never experienced this before. He doesn't know what to do, so he asks her to leave.
On a side note, Jessica Lange still looks good for being in her mid-50s but I found her character strange and annoying.
Also, Earl's girlfriend is an interesting freespirit who looks like Steven Tyler if he was younger and female.
CONCLUSION: For all the reasons above "Don't Come Knocking" is a fine film worthy of repeat viewings, that is, if it sounds like your cup of java.
PERSONAL GRADE: Borderline B+ or A-"
Where is Howard?
Hiram Gomez Pardo | Valencia, Venezuela | 04/19/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Wim Wenders returns with his used style; the search of the affective and emotional roots. As he showed us in Paris Texas, the first shot invites us to think in huge but desolate landscapes.
Howard Spence (Sam Sheppard) is an actor who has lost his well known admiration, he is now at his fifties and is shooting a film in Utah. Suddenly he flees for some inner reason and so decides to visit his mother (Eva Marie Saint) after more than thirty long years ; after a brief stage she reveals him about a secret, he has a son, outcome of a youth's sin. Doreen is the mother (Jessica Lange) and lives in Montana.
That will be essentially the basic dramatic premise for this complex and tender film with adorable touches of American humour, country music and poetic desolation.
As it's usually in most of Wenders films this is another road-movie with profound emotional implications.
Another jewel in the crown of this master filmmaker.