Sam Adams
December 06, 2004 AT 05:00 AM EST

Wandering out of the desert at the start of Wim Wenders’ sad, surreal road movie, Harry Dean Stanton is as much a mirage as a man. After four years in self-imposed exile, he barely seems to remember his brother (Dean Stockwell), let alone his son and estranged wife (Nastassia Kinski). As Stanton puts miles on his rusty pick-up, memories precious and poisoned come crawling back, but there are things he still can’t face (his reunion with Kinski takes place through the one-way glass of a peep-show booth). Paris, Texas doesn’t always hang together, but Stanton’s protean, soulful performance, Ry Cooder’s bottle-neck score, and cinematographer Robby Müller’s elegiac images —stunningly rendered on this long-overdue disc — make for moments of serene, unearthly beauty.

EXTRAS Deleted scenes, useless Cannes footage, and Wenders’ commentary, which gets interesting at the point when Sam Shepard’s unfinished script runs out. The rest, Wenders says, was largely improvised or scribbled on the fly, which goes a long way toward explaining the movie’s piecemeal tone.

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