Faraway, So Close!

January 28, 2012 8 Min Read

Review by: Fusion3600

Plot: What’s it about?

This is by no means an easy film to write a synopsis for. You see, a simple storyline is impossible to pen and this due to the director’s vision. This movie has a story at heart, but to just describe that would be to overlook much of the storytelling process used in this film. We have characters and dialogue of course, but the visuals also play a vital role in this movie. And to attempt to describe visuals in the sense of story would take an essay, of course longer than this synopsis should be. So I will offer a one line synopsis and allow the film to spin the rest for you, which is the way it should be with this movie. This is the follow up to Wings Of Desire and if you’ve seen that film, then you’ll know about what to expect. This is basically a story of angels and what might happen if one were to cross the line into the realm of living people. I know that’s vague, but I can’t summarize what the film displays, so please check it out on your own.

I’ve seen this film be praised to no end by one critic, then panned by another critic who is usually in agreement with the other. I’ve seen this film a few times with several friends and the same issues arise, half love the movie and the other half hate it. Ok, so where do I fall in all this? Well, I happen to be right in the middle of things when it comes to this movie. I think it has some powerful moments that make the whole thing worthwhile, but it also has some downright bad aspects also. So I am left to watch the film a few more times, in an effort to draw my final decision. But no matter how many times I watch Faraway, So Close!, I can never make that choice. I suppose since I continue to revisit it on occasion that speaks for the positive aspects, but I think I keep returning to this one to find out what I might be missing. And truth be told, I never find that extra element that would push this one over the top as a great film. Nonetheless, this is a solid enough film to recommend and as such I will in this review. This is a film you need to devote some time to, so you can take it all in and decide for yourselves. If you do like this movie, I highly recommend the prequel to it, Wings Of Desire which I feel is a much better overall effort.

This film was directed by Wim Wenders and while I don’t care for many of his films, he does know how to make a very personal and visually impressive movie. This is proof positive of that skill, as while I didn’t really connect with the characters or storyline, I was dazzled by the visuals and camera work at times. And to be honest, that is enough to bring me back time and again to explore this and other Wenders films. Wenders also helped pen the screenplay along with Richard Reitinger and Ulrich Zieger, who wrote the dialogues. The writing here seems very good in a technical sense, but I never felt moved by the words and events. It has a very personal feel to it and that could be why I can’t seem to connect with the folks in the film. I do think Wenders is a good writer, he just seems to have missed me with this one. If you want to see more of Wenders’ films I recommend The Buena Vista Social Club, Wings of Desire, The End Of Violence, and Beyond The Clouds. This film also sports an impressive cast and while I didn’t really connect with the characters, I can still see the terrific performances given. The cast includes Peter Falk (Tv’s Columbo), Bruno Ganz (Nosferatu The Vampyre), Nastassja Kinski (One Night Stand, Susan’s Plan), Otto Sander (Killer Condom, Truck Stop), and Willem Dafoe (The Last Temptation Of Christ, White Sands).

Video: How does it look?

Faraway, So Close! is presented in a 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. This is a sparkling transfer that really brings across the visual scheme as intended. I found some minor moire patterns and edge enhancement, but no serious compression errors and the source print looks clean and pristine. The bulk of the film is presented in black & white and looks stark, but all the visuals look clean and well defined. The sequences in color appear bright and natural, while the black & white scenes are bold and well balanced. I can’t imagine a much better transfer than this one and I think fans will be very pleased.

Audio: How does it sound?

Aside from some musical sequences this is a rather conservative audio experience, but the included 2.0 surround track represents the material very well. So the surrounds might not be off the hook all the time, but you’ll hear it all in clean and clear fashion. The language is German for the most part, but some English pops in at times. The vocals sound crisp and display great clarity, while the volume keeps it all in a well balanced package. There is also a French language track and subtitles in English, Spanish, French, and Portuguese.

Supplements: What are the extras?

The liner booklet contains some production notes and on the disc you’ll find talent files and the film’s theatrical trailer. Some bonus trailers for other Sony Picture Classics discs are also included. The main supplement is an audio commentary track with director Wim Wenders, which should please fans of his work. Wenders is very sparse with his comments, but there is still some good information to be gleaned from his commentary.

Disc Scores