Harry Dean Stanton and the blue-skied expanses of the Southwest can be seen in all their splendor in Criterion’s restoration of Wim Wenders’ open-hearted look at ’80s America.
Four years after abandoning his family, a haunted, laconic Stanton mysteriously appears in the desert. Reconnecting with his precocious seven-year-old son, he sets out to find his long-gone wife in Texas. The film’s sublime effect lies in how Wenders lets the journey unfurl, unhurriedly and moodily, with his outsider’s camera taking in everything from California suburbia to middle-of-nowhere highways.
Ry Cooder’s bluesy slide guitar only adds to the melancholic and rarefied air of this 1984 masterpiece. The extras menu is also typically rich, with Super 8 home movies, one-on-one clips with Wenders, and excerpts from a 1990 documentary about the German auteur that features names as varied as Sam Fuller and Patricia Highsmith.