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DVD Review: DON'T COME KNOCKING

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PHOTOGRAPHY

 

DON'T COME KNOCKING

DVD Review by David Blackwell

DETAILS: 111 minutes, audio commentary, three featurettes, previews

STUDIO: Sony Pictures Classics/ Reverse Angle/ Arte France Cinema/ and more

RELEASE DATE: 8-8-2006

I have been to Butte, Montana about three times (back in 1999). Uptown Butte at night is as deserted as director Wim Wenders portrays it. Just I think uptown butte has a little more life during the daytime, but it is always nice seeing the perfect city for a film noir up on film. DON'T COME KNOCKING is a Western road movie (and not a film noir). It does reunite writer/actor Sam Shepard with Wim Wenders since they worked together on PARIS, TEXAS.

DON'T COME KNOCKING is one of the better films that Wim Wenders has directed. It showcases Butte while being a road movie at the same time. It is a journey for the characters featured. It is a strange and yet captivating film. Howard Spence (Sam Shepard) is a burned out Western star who goes AWOL from the set of his latest film. He first goes to visit his mom (Eva Marie Saint) in Elko, Nevada where he learns he may have a son in Butte, Montana. He travels to Butte as he examines the train wreck his life has become. A young woman (Sarah Polley) stumbles upon him in Butte and her interest in him ends up surprising him as he tries to reach out to his grown up son (Gabriel Mann) whose life is heading down the same path as Howard. Also on Howard's trail is an insurance agent (Tim Roth) out to bring him back to finish his latest film. Jessica Lange plays the mother that Howard had a fling with years ago when he shot a Western in Butte.

The journey is an important part of DON'T COME KNOCKING. It isn't about the destination. Like UNTIL THE END OF THE WORLD, the journey for the characters takes center stage. DON'T COME KNOCKING is more satisfying than MILLION DOLLAR HOTEL. Also it might tempt even more filmmakers to shoot in Butte (and maybe someone will shoot a film noir).

VIDEO: 2.35:1 (Anamorphic Widescreen)

All I can say about the transfer is that it captures Butte beautifully. It brings back what the city looked like when I walked the streets during my three visits to that quiet city. The casinos in Elko look brighter and uglier than anything you see in the TV show LAS VEGAS.

AUDIO: English 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround

Subtitles: English, French

SPECIAL FEATURES: The audio commentary with director Wim Wenders is the best extra. While three featurettes are entertaining, I wish Sony Pictures Classics had went the extra mile and included the deleted scenes that Wim mentions on the commentary track (and one of them is shown in the theatrical trailer which is also absent from the disc). It is an easy going track that reveals a wealth of information about the making of DON'T COME KNOCKING. I would definitely listen to it again.

NEW YORK PREMIERE- footage from the premiere of DON'T COME KNOCKING in New York City. Wim Wenders and other assume no one shot a movie in Butte before he did, but at least five did shoot there before Wim did (sorry to burst your bubble, Wim). It is my favorite of the three featurettes.

SUNDANCE- 12 minutes of interviews and footage from the film's debut at the Sundance Film Festival.

The 5 minute interview with director Wim Wenders and actress Eva Marie Saint is entertaining to watch. Better than many of the promo interviews I have seen.

PREVIEWS: CACHE, LIES AND ALIBIS, L'ENFANT, FRIENDS WITH MONEY, ART SCHOOL CONFIDENTIAL, WHY WE FIGHT, MOUNTAIN PATROL: KEKIXII, THE THREE BURIALS OF MELQUIADES ESTRADA, THE DEVIL AND DANIEL JOHNSTON, QUINCEANERA, SKETCHES OF FRANK GEHRY

FINAL ANALYSIS: DON'T COME KNOCKING is one of the better Wim Wenders films. It is a road movie that showcases the quietness of Uptown Butte (and it's architecture). Rent it if you don't carry about the story and just want a journey the characters go on. I just wish the deleted scenes and the theatrical trailer were included on the disc, and it is about time SPHE steps up with better extras (and theatrical trailers for more of their DVDs) again.

this review is (c)9-15-2006 David Blackwell and cannot be reprinted without permission (except for excerpts and a link to the review). Look for additional content at http://enterlinemedia.livejournal.com and send all comments to lord_pragmagtic@hotmail.com