At once infuriatingly solemn and the best thing from Wenders in a decade, this visually resplendent LA 'thriller' concerns Mike Max (Pullman) a wealthy producer of violent movies who goes to ground with a group of Mexican gardeners after escaping an attempt on his life, and the movie-obsessed cop Doc Block (Dean) and the surveillance expert Ray (Byrne) who search, separately, for a solution to the crime. It's a complicated affair, involving - or does it? - Max's wife (MacDowell); stuntwoman Cat (Lind); a refugee from El Salvador (Sanchez) hired by Ray's boss (Benzali); rap poet Six (Freeman); and expat European film-maker Zoltan (Kier). As the film explores links between life and the movies, politics and power, venality and violence, crime and new technology, it occasionally slips into mediocre comedy and smug self-reflexiveness, but for the most part it's stylish and intelligent. As a love-hate letter to the movie-making capital, it's superbly designed and shot; as a contemporary film noir expressing a European unease at the future of the world as presaged by this blessed/damned city on the Western edge, it's strangely compelling.
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