The End of Violence (1997)



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Wim Wenders is fascinated by the paradox that is Los Angeles. On one level, it is the stereotypical sun-drenched urban paradise characterized by a laid-back, everything-goes attitude, but on another plane it is a violent place where brutality is subtly celebrated -- and even promoted. The End of Violence centers on a diverse group of Angelenos whose lives interconnect after each is touched by violence. Mike Max (Bill Pullman) is one of Hollywood's more prominent directors of schlocky action movies. His films are among the bloodiest and cruelest in the business, and the moral implications of his business bother the money-hungry Max not a whit. He is so consumed with his business that he has little time for his increasingly frustrated wife Paige (Andie MacDowell). She plans to escape the situation by doing volunteer work in Guatemala. It is only after a gorgeous stunt woman named Cat (Traci Lind) is injured on the set that Max shows even the slightest compassion. The producer's life changes dramatically, however, after he is kidnapped by two inept but potentially dangerous hit men. Max escapes and goes into hiding at the home of his Mexican gardener and remains in seclusion there for over a month. Meanwhile, a police investigation to find Max is headed by detective Doc Block (Loren Dean). During his search, he encounters Cat and becomes fascinated by the beautiful girl -- who is secretly in contact with Max. In a parallel story, Ray Bering (Gabriel Byrne) runs a high-tech surveillance operation out of the Griffith Park observatory and with his assistant records daily events in the city. Sometimes he visits with his father (noted director Samuel Fuller), a retired military veteran. The FBI is after Bering's system and he is forced to go into hiding as well. In making this film, Wenders and screenwriter Nicholas Klein decided to explore their topic without exploiting it; thus it features very little actual violence and that which does occur, happens off screen.
R (adult situations/language, violence)
Art House & International , Drama , Mystery & Suspense
Directed By:
Written By:
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Bill Pullman
as Mike Max
Andie MacDowell
as Paige Stockard
Gabriel Byrne
as Ray Bering
Loren Dean
as Doe Block
Daniel Benzali
as Brice Phelps
John Diehl
as Lowell Lewis
Pruitt Taylor Vince
as Frank Cray
Udo Kier
as Zoltan Koyacs
Rosalind Chao
as Claire
Marshall Bell
as Sheriff Call
Frederic Forrest
as MacDermot
Samuel Fuller
as Louis Bering
Chris Douridas
as Technician
Sal Lopez
as Tito
Aymara De Llano
as Florinda
Henry Silva
as Juan-Emilio
Andy Alvarez
as Philipo
Karen Ross
as Fluffball
Reg Rogers
as Jack
Michael Massee
as Guy in Bar
O-Lan Jones
as Barmaid
Victoria Duffy
as Female Cop
Mili Avital
as Featured Performer
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Critic Reviews for The End of Violence

All Critics (34) | Top Critics (10)

A longwinded exercise in pretentious confusion.

July 12, 2002
Globe and Mail
Top Critic

Skip the movie but buy the CD.

December 31, 1999
USA Today
Top Critic

This goes on for two hours and two minutes. When I staggered out of the theater, I asked if Clinton was still president.

December 31, 1999
Houston Chronicle
Top Critic

A meandering mess, a plodding dud.

Full Review… | December 31, 1999
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic

Offers viewers opportunities to ponder a variety of diverse subjects, but its overall entertainment value is less than one might hope for.

Full Review… | December 31, 1999
Top Critic

A muddled, sentimental Euro-American hash, redeemed here and there from its fatal purposelessness by a few moments that remind us we're in the presence of a genuine cinematic visionary.

December 31, 1999
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for The End of Violence

One of 90's Wenders'. His strong interests and awareness on "the end of the century (or millennium) and examination on the new upcoming century are still affects very much on his choice of theme, story, and way of directing, following "Until the End of the World" (1991). The plot itself is quite similar to "Enemy of the State" (1998), but Wenders's interest is not on how the hero reveals the conspiracy of the Government, but on how the hero meditates and purifies himself through the relationship with people he newly met. I understand quite many audiences would disappoint or even dislike this sudden (seems so at first sight) and foggy conclusion of the film, but again, this is not Hollywood big action films like "Enemy of the State" - it is even an obvious anti-Hollywood film, I'd say, for you can find quite a lot of negative mentions on those Hollywood films in this film, although it is not the main point of the film. It is a little bit lengthy and sometimes too abstract (especially editing is little bit confusing, although it is the main force of creating the atmosphere of the film), but full of impressive scenes. Music creates an original atmosphere, and original characters well-played by great actors (not famous but very good) are lovely. Especially the cop character played by Loren Dean is my favorite. It is very interesting idea that the producer of violent films faces against real violence, thinks about it, and finally gets a clue on how to end the chain of it. Wenders's message is very positive and thoughtful.

Naoya Kugimiya
Naoya Kugimiya

A muddled, longwinded, insultingly didactic Euro-American hash, redeemed here and there from its fatal purposelessness by a few moments that remind us we're in the presence of a genuine cinematic visionary.

Lee Mayo
Lee Mayo

Adventures in paranoia.

Anthony Valletta
Anthony Valletta

Super Reviewer

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