Film Reviews, Short Review

Der Amerikanishe Freund [The American Friend] (1977)

3.5/4

The brilliant, moody, mysterious and atmospheric first half of Wim Wenders’ The American Friend is let down by a slightly more predictable second half. The brilliance of the first half lies in the fact that there is so much that we do not know – we are unsure who is friend or enemy, who is telling the truth and who isn’t – but as we begin to find out along with Bruno Ganz, the film loses some of its beguiling, dark charm. Nevertheless, the film is gorgeously shot, with the Mitteleuropan modernist cityscapes a perfect foil for our protagonist’s alienated, paranoid state of mind; the casting and subsequent performances are also great too: Dennis Hopper is clearly on something and a joy to watch, and master director Nic Ray is great fun in a small but important cameo.

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