Don't Come Knocking Wim Wenders

You want to hope that sometimes people can make it back. Specifically, you hope that the great Wim Wenders can turn around his losing streak and make a film that matters again. And armed with a collaborator like Sam Shepard, with whom he made his masterpiece, Paris, Texas, you get your hopes up that this time somebody might be driving the train. But Don’t Come Knocking has precious little of that earlier film’s cogency or beauty and too much of a storyline that rightly belongs to a George Strait lyric. Shepard assays the role of an over-the-hill movie star who wanders away from his latest film for a little peace and quiet. But he learns from mother Eva Marie Saint that he fathered an illegitimate son, sending him farther across country to find old girlfriend Jessica Lange in the hopes of making amends. Wenders’ critical eye is nowhere to be found; he’s become so wrapped up in the process of becoming irrelevant that he’s lost the ability to reverse it. This is a noncommittal film that says reconciliation is impossible, which might have had some heat if it hadn’t been played entirely from Shepard’s point of view and maybe explored externally. A few Edward Hopper-ish backgrounds notwithstanding, there’s no denying the solipsism he used to critique has suddenly taken over the movie. This is a far cry from the analytical fireworks Wenders used to shoot, though it does offer the image of a character angrily throwing all his possessions out the window. Extras include a Wenders commentary that’s tech- and budget-driven, an uninteresting Q&A with Wenders, Lange and Gabriel Man at the film’s NYC premiere, a fuzzy-headed featurette on the Sundance premiere, and a sycophantic interview with the director and Eva Marie Saint. (Sony)