David Browne
January 24, 1992 AT 05:00 AM EST

Until the End of the World

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
R
runtime
158 minutes
performer
William Hurt, Jeanne Moreau, Solveig Dommartin, Sam Neill
director
Wim Wenders
distributor
Warner Home Video
genre
Drama, Sci-fi and Fantasy

We gave it a B+

Talk about clout: For the soundtrack of his latest film, German director Wim Wenders got everyone from U2 and R.E.M. to Depeche Mode and Elvis Costello to contribute new or previously unreleased songs. The result in Until the End of the World could have been a stylistic jumble, but the artists seem to have taken the film’s downcast, vaguely apocalyptic atmosphere to heart. With a few exceptions (like ”Sax and Violins,” a loosey-goosey outtake from the defunct Talking Heads), the 19 songs are mostly spare, languorous, and somber, from Elvis Costello’s mournful version of the nostalgic Kinks ballad ”Days” to Nick Cave’s Transylvanian cabaret number ”(I’ll Love You) Till the End of the World” to Daniel Lanois’ bayou blues ”Sleeping in the Devil’s Bed.” Few of the songs are drastic departures from the artists’ usual styles, and even fewer are essential listening for fans — Neneh Cherry’s ”Move With Me (Dub),” for instance, is practically an instrumental, and R.E.M.’s ”Fretless” has all the elements of their best gothic ballads but misses being memorable. Nonetheless, the collection is much more cohesive than the typically disjointed pop-song soundtrack; the songs seem to wash into each other. When the album revs up for its penultimate track, U2’s throbbing ”Until the End of the World,” it’s as if you’ve awakened from a long, involving, and vivid dream. B+

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