Until the End of the World (1991) Poster

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You don't know the half of it...
devojane123 January 2001
The first 2 times I saw this film (on video), I fell asleep before the end. I thought the beginning was great, though, so I kept at it. When I finally saw the whole thing, I still thought it was pretty good, although rather disjointed. On the whole, I would agree with many other Imdb user comments (too long, incoherent, two movies in one, excellent soundtrack, etc.) That was before I saw the _whole_ movie.

I had been watching the 158-minute American version and the 179-minute European version (almost indistinguishable) I had heard about the 280-minute "Trilogy" version 4 or 5 years ago when it was screened at the American Cinemateque (sp?) and when I read that it was to be screened again Jan 14 at the Egyptian Theater in Hollywood, I figured that a 5-hour (with 2 10-min. intermissions) version would be bloated and slow. I couldn't have been more wrong!

"Die Trilogie" version of "Bis ans Ende der Welt" (prepared for German released w/ no subtitles) was one of the best movies ever! The extra footage gave more room to the story, the music, and ultimately made for a much more coherent movie. The relationship between Claire and Eugene is better explained, among other things. The Indian satelite is not ignored, like in the "Reader's Digest Version" (Wim Wenders' term). Songs heard for 10 seconds originally are now presented in their full glory, including a previously deleted version of Elvis Costello's "Days" performed by Solveig Dommartin, Chick Ortega, Ernie Dingo, Charlie McMahon, and David Gulpilil.

According to the director, this version will be released on DVD in Europe in 2001, and possibly in the USA before 2002. I hope everyone can have a chance to see the complete, non-mutilated version of this wonderful movie!
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Will stay with you for years to come.
dylan floyd5 March 2002
I first saw this movie 10 years ago, and have seen it perhaps 50 times since then. There has never been another film that has so affected me this way... the images, dialog, and music keep coming back to me, and each time I watch it I see something new. All this, and I've only seen the edited version, not the 5-hour director's cut, which I hope someday will be released on DVD.

Wenders has a different way of working - he develops the dialog, and even the plot (so the story goes), as the film is being shot. One of the reasons it all seems so real.

The integration of the music is fantastic, and gives just as emotional weight as the stunning cinematography. Rather than slap on some pop music in post-production as most directors do, he first solicited songs from his pals U2, Nick Cave, Peter Gabriel, et al to write a song about the end of the world. He then wove the resulting music into the script.

Every 6 months or so I'm amazed by some bit of news in real life that was actually telegraphed by the film, years ago. Remember the crisis with India and Pakistan developing nuclear arms a few years back?

Solveig Dommartin is intoxicating, William Hurt is his usual self, but for me Sam Neill is the best. His narration is especially haunting.

Shot on 4 continents in 8 countries, this film is truly an epic.
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A rare pleasure
haddocky3 July 2004
In its full length version this film is a really absorbing and enjoyable piece of work. I saw it at the National Film Theatre in London years ago, expecting to find the length a serious problem but knowing that I might not get another chance.

As it turned out there were two intervals and the fact that it took a whole afternoon added to the enjoyment... the absorption drew me in.

I never saw the short version but its relative lack of success suggests that the edit wasn't wholly successful. I don't know if the long version circulates in any form these days but if the chance arises to see it take an afternoon off, make sure the cinema has a nice cafe and settle down for a unique film.
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An grand and inspiring adventure
BillW17 May 2001
I have only seen the full-length 280-minute "trilogy" version of this film (at the 2001 USA Film Festival in Dallas), and I honestly cannot identify any sequences that could be cut without seriously compromising the flow of the story.

This film works so well on so many different levels -- an adventure, a love story, a question of ethics and technology, life and death, love and family, but mostly it explores the question, "how far must we travel (or how long must we sit in the theater) to find that which we seek, and what exactly is it we're seeking anyway"?

Yes, 4-1/2 hours is a long time to sit still (although, with two intermissions it's not all that bad), but for those of us who enjoy a good film that's not made from a pat formula of committee-designed ingredients in strictly regulated proportions, it's worth every minute.
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A difficult film at first, but so is all good literature
marcus-17525 December 2004
The vast majority of people I know have never understood this film. Probably this is because the 2.5 hour running time of the original release is actually vastly too short for the story. The director's cut is a whopping 4.5 hours, but goes by so quickly one hardly notices. If you are bored, then you probably haven't figured out what's really going on. Some notes:

This is a story of trials, of how our relationships to each other, and to humanity and the Earth, are shaped and impeded by technology. It is a fearful story of the dangers of our world as Wenders saw them in almost 20 years ago now. The journey is central here (as it is in almost all epic works) and the story doesn't work without seeing that journey unfold first all over the earth (and no, it wasn't about sponsoring nations--the journey of Sam and Claire et al reenacts other journeys only alluded to in the film, bringing up themes of connectedness to family and place.)

To me the most important theme in this film is the power of the journey and of stories to transform us--a theme so old we may be tired of it, though it remains relevant today. Eugene (Neill) is to me the central character, and any good viewing of the movie depends on understanding how he fits in as more than a side character caught up in a great chase.

One last note: this doesn't deserve to be described as Sci-Fi. Yes, there's some science-like imagery in it, but the thrust of the movie is literary. The "science-fiction" in the movie serves only as an extension of the transformations and journeys of the characters. It turns those things inward rather than outward, and succeeds well in doing it. A truly remarkable and excellent film that got a bad first screening because no distributor had the guts to put out a 5 hour movie. (What would they say to Akira Kurosawa these days?)
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lee_eisenberg13 July 2005
Warning: Spoilers
"Until the End of the World" is a movie that has never gotten the recognition that it deserves. Occurring in 1999, when the Indian nuclear satellite has gone out of control (and no one knows where it's going to land), the movie focuses on Frenchwoman Claire Tourneur (Solveig Dommartin) following American Sam Farber (William Hurt) all over the world. Sam has a most ingenious device that enables his blind mother (Jeanne Moreau) to see, and some other people are trying to get their hands on it.

I simply can't do justice to the movie by trying to describe it. You have to see it to believe it. For the soundtrack, director Wim Wenders went to several singers and had them write the songs that they were going to write at the end of the millennium. The result was beyond incredible. Few movies have ever reached this movie's greatness.

I wonder what ever became of Solveig Dommartin.
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complex, intelligent, "realistic-fictious" plot
bm1375 February 2005
Wim Wenders sets a touching love story within the plot of a sci-fi cat&mouse pursuit around the world. Once again his movie is spiked with irony and esprit. The story is more complex than in his previous movies. Who got bored by Wenders before will be pleasantly surprised, although one should be able to cherish a long, slow movie. Wenders shows us a completely technological world, which he then confronts with the "good old way" of life. "Bis ans Ende der Welt" can be understood in 2 ways: space or time. During the movie the viewer travels in both dimensions and will leave the cinema dazzled and deeply moved. Also due to the outstanding soundtrack, including Peter Gabriel's "Blood of Eden" in a unique version (without the high notes) which unfortunately is not available on the original motion picture soundtrack. Great cinematography, to be viewed on big screen only!
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Another View
brittandthatsall6 September 2003
Wenders takes the time to take us to another place that is right beside where you are now, whether you know it or not. Beautifully shot and scored, the movie rewards those that allow it to unfold rather than showing you the plot in the first 15 minutes. With an emphasis on personal emotions rather than "screen presence", the actors reveal much about us all- no super-heroes here.

Granted it is a long film by "American" standards but who can say how long a film should be? I felt transported to the times & places Wenders takes us, to me this makes a successful film regardless of its length. The storyline is well crafted and the music editing is brilliant; when I hear the music today I think of the film and not the bands that performed it.

William Hurt has a role (finally) that suits his personality. The pairing of Jeanne Moreau and Max Van Sydow is brilliant. Definitely a movie that should be seen at least once in your lifetime.
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avatar68 June 1999
Few movies leave me reeling, and this was one of those few. I could not believe what I had just seen when I first viewed it. It was like nothing I have ever experienced before. That's just what this movie does, too... provide the viewer with an experience. The plot was like nothing I've ever seen. It was fresh, intelligent, and a bit philosophical. The characters were complex human beings with realistic thoughts and emotions. Not everything that occurs does so for good reason... just as life really is. Thoughts and fears that human beings share are presented in this movie in a truly unique manner. It often plays out in a metaphorical way (i.e. "You're on your own, Claire" = aloneness), allowing us to feel like intelligent viewers, instead of viewers that need our hands held. Every character has his or her flaws, and motivations. The movie does bog down a bit in the middle, and jumps around in an alarmingly chaotic way, but it's too realistic to fault. I found it both enjoyable, and thought-provoking. The idea of addiction to our thoughts and dreams, chasing an infatuation without knowing why, and waiting for the final curtain to fall, are aspects of the movie that fascinated me. I am not saying this as a fan of Wim Wenders, since I had never heard of him before this. I most certainly know who he is now! I had to find out after viewing this movie, which unfortunately cannot be seen in its entirety. It's brilliant, interesting, and intelligent. Great acting, haunting soundtrack, and fresh plot make this movie a real winner.
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find a way to see the 4 hour and 40 minute version
sah0045 January 2004
I don't know how often this film has been shown in its original length (4hr40min), but this version is clearly superior to the shorter film released in theaters. I was able to see it at screening in NYC. Simply put, there's a layer of resolution and contextuality that is seriously lacking in the edited version.
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Full House Cheers Director's Cut and Director at MoMA, March 7, 2015
Wenders' near five hour film won its long delayed tribute this afternoon as a MoMA audience saw a superb technical and aesthetic tour de force. Shining through past his visionary use of animation (including dream-realization astonishingly close to contemporary science), his compassionate eye for character, his skill at keeping a sophisticated audience wanting to know what happens next, his unerring ear for the right music, is a quality of benevolence which, while not denying the existence of evil, gives it no purchase.

And then there are the actors, who give skillful voice to ideas while providing breadth and nuance to the thousand odd tasks they are given. Wenders doesn't avoid the sheer fun of having Rüdiger Vogler play an older Winter not morally improved but very adept at playing the harmonica. He pays homage to Ozu as well, casting Ryu Chishu and Miyake Kuniko in a perfect interlude which he admitted to creating for the purpose of casting Ryu.

Wenders spoke to the above and other issues after the film. On the music, he revealed he had written to such artists as Lou Reed and Patti Smith asking them to project their art ten years into the future (some twenty agreed and their songs are in the film, seeming more contemporary than the 1991 film date would suggest). He also described exhausting the still experimental Japanese digital technology (and technologists) which enabled him to create the film's absorbing dreamscapes.

Very rewarding, too, seeing one of our great filmmakers get the standing ovation appropriate to his work on "Until the End of the World."
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Seeing The World For The First And Last Time
loganx-228 April 2009
Wim Wenders over 5 hour globetrecking cyberpunk epic, is intended to be the ultimate road movie. It plays out like a miniseries, about a woman who just separated from her writer boyfriend(played by Sam Niel who serves as narrator), and crashes cars with wounded bank-robbers, they offer to give her some of the money if she will transport the cash the rest of the way to Paris for them. She agrees and uses her money to finance the trip that ensues for the rest of the movie. She immediately after meets William Hurt, a mysterious hitchhiker she becomes fascinated with. He is on the lamb, but from who, and why? After he ditches her and steals a hefty sum she becomes obsessed with finding him.

All the while a rouge Indian nuclear satellite hovers above the Earth, haywire and endangering a possible nuclear Apocalypse if it accidentally detonates. The world is closer to ending than it has ever been, which means its just a story on the news in the background, most people try to ignore.

The first segment, in this three part film, is their chase cross country and continent, "A Dance Around The World", as the book about their lives is latter called.

They begin in Italy, and go on to Paris, Berlin, Moscow, Bejing, Tokyo, San Francisco, and finally the Australlian Outback, our heroin Miriam discovers, that Hurt is wanted for a stolen piece of Government property, a device that records the experience of seeing and translates the information as images. He is recording the most beautiful places in the world, for his blind mother. He is the son of Max Von Sydow, the inventor of the device. Their cat and mouse game becomes a whirlwind romance of constant movement and escape.

By the third segment they reach Sydow's underground lab in Australlia, where they also discover that the device cannot only record seeing for the blind, but can record dreams if left on during sleep. The aboriginals who run the lab with Sydow refuse to work on his dream machine. Slowly but believably the rest of the staff, becomes obsessed with staring into the recordings of their dreams, "It got to the point where they dreamed of their dreams...and fell ever deeper into the black well of Narcissus .".

There are car crashes, planes losing power midlight, and one gorgeous locale after another. Like "Alphaville" and "The Fall" this film is completely indebted to its beautiful sights, that it finds and photographs. At five hours long, you can imagine it meanders a good deal. And it does, but for a film so dedicated to the pure spectacle and profound importance and danger of "seeing things", I didn't mind.

Future content wise, there is a clear opposition between the dual natures of the machine, helping the blind to see the world, and allowing the sightful to intrude upon their private internal world, whose appeal is magnetic and addictive. Tecnhology is a double edged sword, amazing but not without its serious ethical and philosophical dilemmas (which is the more real world the one within or without? etc), this movie doesn't delve into it conversation wise, it's lets everything play out, at five hours it gives you the credit that you can work it out for yourself.

It's really just a beautiful film to watch, that's much sweeter and gentler than most sci-fi, and more fascinating too because it doesn't shove its implications down your throat.

Wim Wenders, got people like The Talking Heads, Can, Lou Reed, Patti Smith, Elvis Costello, U2, Nick Cave, and many many more, to make original songs for the soundtrack about the new millennium. While many of the songs are very good, most are awkwardly placed as well. No doubt Wenders was really excited about all the music and just wanted to use everything.

Definitely flawed, but a richly excessive and eccentric experiments and time capsule. Despite its hefty run time, I thought Wenders was sensitive, to the changing dynamics of the future world, it's not dystopian and it's not Star Trek/Fifth Element Space Opera either, it occupies, a space, where simple good or bad, are no longer really relevant to discussion.

At one point when everyone assumes the world has ended Sam Niel's character is playing in a small band with several Aboriginal neural scientists, a few french-bank robbers, a British bounty hunter, and some random strays who wandered into the Australian compound fearful of nuclear fallout, and they play a music that sounds like Australlian Blue Grass; Didgeridoo's and pianos, harmonica's, and trumpets, blending together to create something singular and new. He notes to himself, "This entire trip has not been about helping a blind woman to see, or gazing into ourselves. But this adventure, the satellite, the machine, the crash, it all occurred, so we could be here, at this moment, to create this music which would have never otherwise existed, right at the crest of the end of the world".

Few sci-fi films are dedicated to power of music(that the characters play), words(that Sam Neil records for his novel), and images(of coming war, of the beauty of the world, and the contours of our own mind/dream/souls,etc). In Alphaville when the computer asks Lemmy Caution, "What moves the night?", Caution responds, point blank, "Poetry". Wim Wenders updates, upgrades, and extends this concept for the new millennium. Though I cant remember too much of what was said, I'm still humming along days later, with some pretty pictures circulating in my head like post cards from an alternate universe.

It's a bittersweet, love, travelogue, adventure story, for the New Millennium; "Where In The Wolrd Is Carmen San Diego?", as written by William Gibson on a sentimental day.
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A Movie With A Clear View of the World
HeyAtticus2 November 2004
I agree with the comments made earlier concerning the denouement but that's only a disappointment if you look at the movie literally instead of figuratively. As in his other movies like Paris, Texas, the backdrops become another character in the film. Just like the title entails, Wenders was challenged to get the WHOLE world into his movie. He has succeeded. At the end of "The End of The World", we finally see it as we should all see the Earth.

The characters represent different ideologies of the different countries they're from and Wenders uses this to develop the plot.

These "countries" are trying to seize control of one man's vision and a source of power. However, they soon find out that not one of them can control the outcome of the movie.

The movie is Wender's commentary on global politics and socioeconomics. He portrays the world in a flurry of action from a European car chase to a U.S.A in recession, to a dichotomized Japan, and to an isolated Australia. It is an accurate depiction of the world we are living in now because that is how the movie was filmed - out in the streets of the real world circa the end of the 20th century which enhances the theme of the movie.

If you watch this movie you will believe you are living at "The End of the World". The movie is even better NOW then when it first came out. It's been 13 years since the first showing and I'm 28. Being a teenager, the sci-fi, action, fast-pace and the heroine's romance with William Hurt held my attention but to truly appreciate the WHOLE MOVIE you have to get past the juvenile/pop culture themes.

Being a woman, I identified with the heroine and the way she acts at the end of the movie and I think you will, too. The men will relate to the narrator because they tend to distance themselves from what's really going on in this movie and "cut to the chase". Overall, the movie is good for the whole family to watch except for one nude scene.

This "summary" took me awhile to write but as I went through the process of analyzing the movie from memory it became easier and easier as the film's key scenes flashed into my head. This only proves how powerful and clear Wenders' vision is as a director.
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The most fantastic movie I have ever seen
Broken_Ladder30 March 1999
From the very beginning, you're taken into this film's intertwining laces as you soar high above the 'unknown land' of Claire's(Solveig Dommartin) dream. Her grace and and melancholious drift through a world scared to death of being annihilated is fascinating beyond explanation. She seems to hardly care about the events that surround her, until she meets 'Trevor MacPhee.' Most seem to dislike the patchy references towards the manhunt, but I think it is not only fitting but perfect in giving the viewer only as much information as Claire or Gene (Sam Neill) receives. The story line seems to touch the very depths of my human understanding in a way no other film has done for me. 'The soul singing to the only God it knows' is a fantastic set up for the second half of the picture. The ability to view one's dreams, the untold, locked away secrets of the soul never ceases to both enrapture and terrify me. An all-around unbelievable piece of work set to music that seems to have been written solely for the film.
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A wonderful, future nostalgic science fiction piece.
munrod1322 October 2006
Warning: Spoilers
The first time that I saw this movie it enthralled me. I became so wrapped up in the plot and immersed into the character's intensely desperate interactions, that I felt exactly like Claire: addicted to a sequence of images with sound. It's magical and for anyone who enjoys a long, smooth paced story on film it will cast a spell on you. Granted, some of the acting is a little awkward but it is, after all, a B movie with B actors, and I tend to think that it adds character to the piece. Not to say that the acting was bad, but it wasn't what drove the movie. The drive behind this movie was in fact the actual words, the screenplay, not so much the delivery of those words. Sam Niel's narration so perfectly sets the mood for the desperation and near depravity of the characters involved in the narrative, and being that this is science fiction, this was an excellent goal for the writer and well achieved. Niel's character's melancholy mood, after having a failed marriage with the one that he loved (the main character, Claire), sets the standard for everyone else's character in the picture, and all the sadness and underlying melancholiness just blends together seamlessly to create what equates to the sign of the times for those that have any meaningful thoughts in their heads. Which is very often the aim of most science fiction stories, yet has never been reached to same the degree that it has been in this film. That is the films single greatest achievement, and is the source of all the magic that propels emotiveness of this story. Aside from that, the story itself is extremely well played. There is government conspiracy, but it is not an overwhelming part of the plot where the whole world is in danger and is need of saving. No, in the case of this movie it's human integrity that lies at the core of the theme. Integrity in terms of the way that powerful governments treat people who stand in their way, and the level of integrity with which people treat themselves. In the case of the characters in this movie it is unclear who is worse off: the people mistreated by their government, or the people who have mistreated themselves. At the end of the movie, the characters who go all the way, and too far at that, so much so that they become depraved and anti-social to the extreme, have possibly taken them selves to a place worse than death. Which raises the question: how could any of the characters be truly happy if all they were searching for to make their lives better was a blasphemous addiction to something sacred and ominous like their dreams? They had relearn that what is most important in a healthy life is healthy relationships. In short, integrity. Even still, we get caught up in the character's sadness from the beginning of the film, and it's not wrong on our part, because sadness is a part of a healthy life. As far as story goes, sadness is one of the most interesting emotions to watch. That is because inherent in sadness is healing, or personal progression. Which is what drives all plots.
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Not your typical SF film; inventive and original.
jyedvobnick14 August 2002
Storyline: I've always been attracted to movies that break the mold in some way and takes a risk. This film constantly surprised me with the richness, depth and complexity of its depiction of a near-future dystopia. It didn't need blazing ray guns, odd aliens or a 100 million dollar SFX budget to achieve its objective.

Actors: The film attracted an excellent cast that did a superb job.

Music: Some of the music was familiar. Much of it was very unusual and added greatly to the ambience the director wanted to achieve. It is so good I'm going to look for the CD!

Overall impression: A must view for anyone not completely addicted to or debased by the usual safe, boring, "me to" that passes for film out of Hollywood.
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A Dance Around the Globe
notay26 October 1999
Excepting Wings of Desire, this arty epic apocalyptic sci-fi/chase parable may be Wim Wenders' best work. The film features William Hurt visiting at least nine different countries, gathering images on a camera that records the electro-chemical act of seeing. He is pursued by a bounty hunter, several governments, a would-be lover and HER would-be lovers. Eventually the film ceases to be about a physical chase and focuses on man's pursuit of his dreams and the inner workings of his mind.

First, the weak point. This film is seemingly interminable. We've come to expect 2:45 hr movies to spice things up with gunplay or a sinking ship, and UTEOTW lacks such devices. Just as the characters reach Australia, the viewer feels the film is winding down. Wrong! There's another whole movie, just about! Nevertheless, to those who look past the superficial, and aren't plagued by the notoriously short American attention span, the film is a goldmine. Several characters are richly developed, and the many foreign locales help to retain the viewer's interest. The film's brightest star, however, is the soundtrack. So often, soundtracks nowadays are songs "from (the credits) and inspired by the motion picture," whatever that means. In this movie, the songs are hip, progressive and PERFECTLY integrated into the picture. In fact, I actually saw the film only after being really impressed by the cd. The musical talents include U2, REM, kd lang, Lou Reed, Depeche Mode and Peter Gabriel. The REM tune and others are unavailable in general release, and Gabriel's Blood of Eden is markedly different from that song on his Us album.

The thematic material regarding vision is not new (check out Oedipus Rex, for example) but the technological spin is unique. By that same token, Wender's '91 depiction of '99 is not so far off the mark: Satellite automobile navigational systems, sophisticated tracking devices and India as a growing nuclear threat are all presaged in this work. Again, if you are patient, enjoy attention to details and relish psycho-philosophical pursuits mixed into your chase scenes, this film is a winner all the way around, and makes great viewing for any Y2K-themed film festivals!. (also check out Strange Days!)
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Another over-rated entry in the Wenders ouvre
Nigel St. Buggering3 November 2000
When people tell me how much they love this film, I have to wonder which film they mean; there are at least three of them in here. There may be more, but my mind began to wander around hour seven. I exaggerate...it only felt like seven. This is a directionless mess. Each time a plot seems to be moving forward, it is discarded and replaced with a new one. It's like Wenders had a notebook full of story scraps that he couldn't flesh out, so he just lined them up and called it a script treatment. This is a soundtrack album with film footage attached...a very, very long music video. Hell, most music videos have more coherent plots than this.
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absurd and sometimes embarrassing
maerte29 December 1999
Wim Wenders took another chance to bore the audience.

In his almost three hour opus Wenders does again try to solve all the problems of the world.

A number of people travel across the globe in order to search for someone or something: a love, a fine and a camera enabling to see ones dreams. Especially the last hour during which the enigma of the camera is solved, is embarrassing.

The whole plot is absurd and a pretext to satisfy all the sponsoring countries. Again Wenders hides his inability to tell a story behind supposedly meaningful allusions to other films.

Because of some beautiful pictures of Lisbon, Japan and Oz a 3, not a 2.
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will make you yearn for the end of the world
jayarava20 July 2009
Warning: Spoilers
You know you are in trouble when the comments on the back of the DVD packaging say "visually stunning", because this is the inevitable comment on a film which has a rambling disjointed plot and below par acting. And so it was. Way, way too long at almost 3 hours the story is played out across the world. The characters are flat and unengaging - the two male leads being played by Sam Neil and William Hurt who specialise in alienation and distance. Neil's facial expression is the same whether he is in love, being betrayed, chasing the bad guy, being mugged, or watching his beloved in agony. Even the most emotionally charged part of the film - in the father-son relationship during the last third - is clichéd (with Max von Sydow playing to type) and stilted.

The plot twists and turns, but in the end leaves many things unexplained - it's not at all clear why Hurt is being pursued in the end or who the people were that pursued him. It all gets resolved by the supposed disaster which never materialises - a disaster movie with no disaster, an apocalypse with no horsemen. It's full of disjointed parts that don't add up to a satisfying whole. Many of the scenes are completely flat and add nothing. When Hurt wakes up between two elders, they seem to be as baffled by their appearance in the movie as I was, and he is as unreadable as ever.

The idea of hiding away in Australia with a tribe of Aboriginals is somewhat novel, but this is a white man's fantasy I think - they are a group of Man Friday's who attend to his every need, although there is a step too far and they do leave him which once again is done with minimal emotion.

The whole thing was as dry as the Aussie desert. Maybe you had to see it on the big screen, but in the end I did not believe the film was visual stunning - it used some stock shots of the Australian Outback but there was nothing very interesting in the way the film was shot.

I found myself earnestly wishing for the end of the movie, if not the world.
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Thank you for this movie, Mr. Wenders!
tokyopolice7 February 2006
Warning: Spoilers
This is a movie that is beautiful. For a long time I loved having it on my TV to look at after I had watched it. It's like that - electronic art, fit for your walls like Dr. Farber wanted to do with people's dreams with his invention.

The roles were written for the players in this movie. It was cast to a "T." Claire is gorgeous!

You will like or be terribly bored with this movie. Me, after the first viewing, found it to be good to play as "background sound." akin to the Peter Gabriel video playing at the beginning of the film.

I signed up with IMDb just to express how much I love this movie, and to express thanks to Mr. Wenders for having made it.
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Very, Very, Very Good.
Orlando-1031 January 1999
The drifting curiosity of Claire Tourneau lends a feeling of calm to UTEOTW; she is the still center of this quiet film, which occupies a poetic lull before the millennial storm. As in most of Wenders' films, there are moments of great beauty, elevated by the use of silence-- the sudden quiet in the plane, as the shadow slips over the hills (this is my favorite moment in the film)-- and there are Wenders' usual striking, trademark images from a moving vehicle of the landscape racing by. This movie, about vision and re-vision, also has a lot to do with poetry and transportation, like "King of the Road" and "Alice in the Cities". The soundtrack is altogether delightful. Like all of Wenders' films, it is exactly a half-hour too long, but like most of his work, it just manages to redeem itself. I believe this is his best film after his masterpiece, "Wings of Desire".
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Very disappointing road movie – sprawling and lacking focus providing only occasional interest
bob the moo21 April 2002
At the end of 1999 the world is under threat as an Indian nuclear satellite spins out of control and slowly descends towards earth. Claire however has other problems, seeking solitude she gets mixed up with tow bank robbers and agrees to delivery the stolen money to Paris. On her journey she meets Trevor McPhee, who enlists her help to escape a man who is chasing him. Trevor steals some of Claire's money to continue his global journey. Claire pursues him across the Russia, America and Germany (with a detective and ex-boyfriend in tow) to find his quest is more emotional than it is criminal.

Wim Wenders – simply a great director, visionary in his own way. However here he bites off more than he can chew with an ambitious road movie that, like the satellite that threatens the earth, easily spins out of his control. The story starts intriguingly – Claire's journey is interesting and her globe trotting is at least entertaining. It doesn't have a great deal of humour – but it is light and it feels like Claire, Trevor and Eugene's journeys are all building to something.

However it doesn't provide. The final hour of the film is static – all in Australia, and it becomes heavy with pretention and navel-contemplation. The subjects of dreams etc are broached but it doesn't convince, despite throwing up interesting images and some intriguing ideas. It very much crawls to a conclusion and it's almost a relief when it ends.

The title suggests that there will be an element of apocalyptic dread about this. I know that's not the focus of the film, but I did feel it could have used this better. At the start it is mentioned and we see some evidence of panic etc but after that it is forgotten – in fact everywhere seems quite normal. Later in the film something happens that threatens the earth but in a desert in Australia we never know what's happening and indeed neither the characters or the director seem to care either. I don't know why they bothered with the story line at all – they certainly didn't do anything with it.

The cast are OK, but they move all over the place with the tone of the film. The best summary of the cast is that Hurt and Neil are nearly always watchable. Dommartin as Claire isn't as good as she needs to be and can't carry the `quest for love' side or the `addicted to dreams' side. They do provide some good moments but the characters are as illogical and meaningless as the film itself! Why would two bank robbers let Claire transport their money AND let her travel the earth for her lover and continually send her money to do it?!

Overall this provides several entertaining moments, but this is never as deep as it thinks it is. The second half is bogged down in a heavy plot and babble about dreams etc and by the time the ending comes you'll almost wish that the satellite had just fallen quickly and put us all out of our misery. Deeply disappointing.
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This week, Claire and Sam visit Australia!
Red-1257 November 2003
Bis ans Ende der Welt (1991) Directed by Wim Wenders is a bizarre combination of science fiction, travelogue, and picaresque road movie. It's hard to believe that a great director like Wim Wenders could squander the talents of William Hurt (Sam), Jeanne Moreau, and Max von Sydow in a unwittingly laughable mess such as this.

The only modestly redeeming features of this film are some computer-generated images that simulate computer- generated images, some beautiful--if barren-- Australian scenery, and the female lead, Solveig Dommartin (Claire), who is interesting in a unique way, and doesn't look like a standard issue international film star.

In the US version of the film, some plot lines appear suddenly, and some characters disappear just as suddenly. I assume these lapses arose because this movie was cut down from its original eight (!) hour length. I don't even want to think about it.

Confession: I bought this tape because one of the actors listed in the IMDb credits is Amália Rodrigues, the great Portuguese fado singer. Once I read the fine print, I realized that Rodrigues plays "Woman in Street Car," and appears on screen for about three seconds. Live and learn.
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