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Don't Come Knocking (R)

Release Date: March 17th, 2006 by Sony Pictures Classics.
The Cast: Sam Shepard, Jessica Lange, Tim Roth, Sarah Polley, Eva Marie Saint, Gabriel Mann, George Kennedy, Fairuza Balk.
Directed by Wim Wenders.

BASIC PREMISE: After learning he has a son (Mann) from an ex-girlfriend (Lange), Howard (Shepard), a Western actor, travels to Montana to reconnect with him.

ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: Donít Come Knocking starts with a very thin plot that doesnít really go anywhere surprising or even believable. Howard, a burned-out actor in Western movies, suddenly decides to visit his mother, played by Eva Marie Saint. He wants to reconnect with his past, but why? Itís unclear whatís going on in his crazy head from the start. His mother tells him about an old girlfriend who phoned from Montana that sheís carrying his son a while back, so, soon enough, he heads foróguess where?ó Montana. Once there, somehow manages to find his ex-girlfriend Doreen and their son Earl, who just happens to be singing and playing guitar onstage at the same bar. Jessica Lange does give a strong performance as Doreen, but itís overshadowed by the very stilted dialogue. For some reason, Earl completely rejects his father with outrageous bursts self-destructive behavior. Again, itís difficult to get inside his head to know what heís really feeling. Screenwriter Sam Shepard should have included scenes where both Howard and Earl openly express themselves with dialogue rather than yelling at one another. Just arguing/fighting does not always imply a real conflict if thereís very little to base the arguing/fight on in the first place. Two characters mysteriously stalk Howard: Sutter (Roth), an agent sent from the movie studio, and Sky (Polley), who claims to be his daughter. Neither characters add any tension because itís difficult to tell their real purposeói.e, Sutter never poses as a real threat and seems to be an unnecessary character. One scene could have easily been trimmed down with editing, which is when Earl continuously throws his belongings out of his apartment window. On a positive note, the impressive direction by Wim Wenders makes for some picturesque settings and interesting shots, such as one from inside a gym while Earl and Doreen yell at eachother on the sidewalk. But why arenít there more people walking or cars on the street in this town; it feels like a ghost town, just as unrealistic and dull the characters in this movieóat least thatís consistent.

SPIRITUAL VALUE: Unfortunately, none.

INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: Dull characters, weak plot and stilted dialogue.


IN A NUTSHELL: Good cinematography is not enough to save this film from its boring story, dull characters and a weak script.


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