Thursday, January 19, 2006
Hammett (Wim Wenders, 1982) 
I wish I knew beforehand that Paramount forced Wenders to re-shoot almost the entire film and that he walked off only to have it finished by Francis Ford Coppola. It sure does explain why I thought most of the film has nothing that I would associate with Wenders’ style. The idea here is definitely interesting, positioning Dashiell Hammett as a protagonist in the kind of hard-boiled detective stories that he helped define. The problem comes in that the plot is terribly convoluted and that the first hour really crawls along. That the film has a prominent shot-on-a-soundstage look definitely doesn’t appeal to me (though it is similar to the look of Coppola films at the time, which would explain what was re-shot). The action does pick up at the end as Hammett ends up in the middle of something that could come right out of one his stories. Frederic Forrest does give a solid performance as Hammett. He’s comes across as like one of his characters, thrown into circumstances where they have to gain control over a corrupt situation. That foggy line between existing in reality and creating fiction salvages just enough of the film for me.