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Wim Wenders pays loving homage to rough-and-tumble Hollywood film noir with The American Friend, an audacious adaption of Patricia Highsmith’s classic novel, Ripley’s Game.
“A fascinating mix of director Wim Wenders and author Patricia Highsmith … the result is an almost hypnotic suspense film.” – Kim Newman, Empire
Inspired by the cinema of American mavericks Nicholas Ray and Samuel Fuller (both of whom appear in the film), and filled with references to Alfred Hitchcock (whose Strangers on a Train was also a Highsmith adaptation), this moody, twisting thriller stars Dennis Hopper (oozing quirky menace) as Tom Ripley, an amoral expat American art dealer who entangles a terminally ill German family man, played by Bruno Ganz, in a seedy criminal underworld as revenge for a personal slight – but when the two become embroiled in an ever-deepening murder plot, they form an unlikely bond as things move from bad to worse to deadly. Filmed on locations in Hamburg and Paris, with some scenes shot in grimy, late-seventies New York City, Wenders’ first international hit is a stripped-down crime story – the perfect marriage of contemporary German angst and anxious American noir. (Dir. by Wim Wenders, 1977, West Germany/France, in German/English/French with English subtitles, 125 mins., Not Rated)