Palermo Shooting (2008)
Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.
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Critic Reviews for Palermo Shooting
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Audience Reviews for Palermo Shooting
Director Wim Wenders was once a major hero of mine, but he has alienated me in recent years with his journeyman documentaries and increasingly ponderous dramas. My expectations for "Palermo Shooting" were low, but it turned out to be the first Wenders movie to truly grab me in at least 15 years. Like many of Wenders' films, "Palermo Shooting" (a title with two meanings) explores the nature of images and their relationship to the perceiver. So, once again, the characters' interests underscore this theme. Superstar photographer Finn (Campino, lead singer of the German punk band Die Toten Hosen) struggles with creative issues, torn between highbrow art and lucrative but empty fashion shoots. A narrowly avoided road accident makes him drop everything and take off for a reflective sojourn in Italy. While there, he meets Flavia (Giovanna Mezzogiorno), a woman who shares his love for rueful murmuring and visual composition -- she works on restoring old frescos. Meanwhile, he keeps glimpsing (imagining?) a sinister death figure who intends to slay him with a well-placed arrow. A powdered, head-shaved Dennis Hopper portrays the latter, wrapping up his career with the perfect role. A "Seventh Seal"-style conclusion justifies wading through some earlier filler. "Palermo Shooting" is a great-looking film, and Campino is not much of an actor but physically suits the part. The dialogue mixes German, Italian and English, so viewers afraid of subtitles need not be entirely discouraged. The storytelling can be heavy-handed at times (just try to miss the symbolism when Flavia worries about how to deal with Death -- as pictured in the fresco), and Wenders still has a clumsy, indulgent way of squeezing every favorite rock band he can find onto the soundtrack (lots of extra travel scenes where Finn's iPod or car stereo blasts hip tunes by Grinderman, Will Oldham, Iron & Wine and more). There's even a wholly unnecessary Lou Reed cameo. But Wenders fans longing for the sleek, existential hum of his early films will find plenty to enjoy here.
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