Until the End of the World

Year: 1991

Production: Road Movies / Argos / Village Roadshow

Director: Wim Wenders

Starring: William Hurt, Solveig Dommartin, Sam Neill, Max Von Sydow, Rudiger Vogler, Ernie Dinogh, Jeanne Moreau

Screenwriter: Wim Wenders, Peter Carey

From a story by Wim Wenders and Solveig Dommartin

158 minutes; Color


This overlong sf art film sets out to be the ultimate road movie. In 1999, with the Earth endangered by an out-of-control Star Wars satellite, vaarious characters - enigmatic wanderer Dommartin (the actress co-wrote the original story with Wenders), mystery criminal Hurt, Dommartin's ex-lover (Neill), a private eye (Vogler), some bank robbers, Hurt's parents (Moreau, Von Sydow) - traipse from Venice to France to Berlin to Lisbon to Tokyo to San Francisco to the Australian outback, revolving around each other and such McGuffins as stolen money, various prices on Hurt's head, sundered relationships, computerized person-trackers and, finally, a camera device invented by Von Sydow which can help the blind see and also transmit images from one brain to another. This invention has driven Von Sydow into retreat, since he has a paranoia movie fear of US government intervention: "It can take visual information straight from the brain. Once they can do that, they can suck out your dream and look at them like tv." Hurt, gradually going blind, comes to depend on Von Sydow's device which, when the explosion of the satellite convinces him the world has ended, opens the way into Aboriginal dreamworlds.

Wenders builds the film on references to his earlier works ("Weren't you the angel in Lisbon?") which sometimes come close to self-plagiarism. The result is a half-hearted attempt to mimic the generic forms of the international conspiracy thriller and the apocalyptic sf film.

The Overlook Film Encyclopedia - Science Fiction

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