The American Friend

Starring: Bruno Ganz, Dennis Hopper; Director: Wim Wenders

Twenty-two years before Anthony Minghella spurred a Ripley revival, German director Wim Wenders (Wings of Desire) adapted Patricia Highsmith’s Ripley’s Game into a French-flavored thriller about friendship, isolation, and its own moody self. As Ripley, Hopper – amounting to a mannered cackle in a cowboy hat – gets Ganz’s terminally ill family man mixed up in murder. Apart from the swanky action scenes, any suspense is diffused by a running essay on filmmaking (pointless cameos by Nicholas Ray and Samuel Fuller), and the Highsmith tightrope goes slack.

Originally posted February 21 2003 — 12:00 AM EST

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