Andie MacDowell Gabriel Byrne
K. Todd Freeman John Diehl
Pruitt Taylor Vince Richard Cummings
Marisol Padilla Sánchez
Frederic Forrest Samuel Fuller
Ulrich Felsberg (executive
Max (Bill Pullman), is a high-powered movie producer
who begins the film in a profound state of alienation,
cut off from his home life by the banks of phones and
computers he uses to remain in contact with his business
associates. His alienation is then translated into actual
physical disappearance, when he is forced to go into
hiding with a group of Mexican-American laborers after
a mysterious murder attempt.
"When he disappears, in a way this is when his true
self appears, this is when he all of a sudden sees things
about the city, about his own life, about his feelings
that he hasn't seen before. So, in a way, another person
appears, a much more sincere person than the power player
he was before. I think disappearing is always just a
metaphor for something else that appears."
Technology is associated with not only alienation but
also violence in the film. Mike Max uses his computers
to make violent movies, and Gabriel Byrne plays a scientist
forced to operate an Orwellian surveillance system that
enables government agents to assassinate their enemies
The new communications technology is actually the source,
rather than merely the symbol of "our current state
"As much as it pretends to be helping us communicate,
in fact it is making us lonelier and lonelier. We carry
our phones with us, even. And the reality is, we see
people standing on the street corners talking to somebody
on the phone and not realizing where they are and not
seeing everybody else around them. And sometimes it
is just absurd."
Wim Wenders concern with violence, particularly in movies,
is literal rather than merely metaphorical.
"I have a feeling that the more films show violence
explicitly, the less they deal with it. And the less
they make us understand what its roots are and where
it's coming from. It's difficult to get a handle on
violence. A filmmaker can't deny that it has a lot of
power. Violence is attractive. So it's ambiguous. Nobody
can define it."
"More and more my films are about getting in touch instead
of getting out of touch. And Mike at the end of this
film is really more in touch with everybody than he
could have ever been as a film producer.