The American Friend

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Superb adaptation of Patricia Highsmith's novel Ripley's Game, with Hopper as her amiably cynical hero, asked to find a non-professional for a killing or two, and - in echo of Strangers on a Train - drawing an innocent family man (Ganz) into the game by persuading him that the blood disease he is suffering from is not merely incurable but terminal. Good Highsmith, it's even better Wenders, with Ripley, an American expatriate in Germany, first seen keeping a rendezvous with a dead man, then confiding his disorientation to a tape recorder ('There is nothing to fear but fear itself... I know less and less about who I am or who anybody else is'). Ripley, in other words, becomes the quintessential Wenders hero, the loner travelling through alien lands in quest of himself, of friendship, of some meaning to life. Emerging enviously from his solitude to wonder at the radiating warmth of Ganz' family circle, he is irresistibly attracted; but he is also condemned by his own self-disgust to approach only someone on whom he can already smell the scent of death, and by destroying whom he can complete his drive to self-destruction.

Release details

Duration: 125 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Wim Wenders
Screenwriter: Wim Wenders
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