Synopsis by Mark Deming
Wim Wenders directed this allegorical drama about the emotional impact of violence in our culture, set against the backdrop of California's entertainment business. Mike Max (Bill Pullman) is a Hollywood producer who has earned a great deal of money and power in the film industry through his success with a series of brutally violent action pictures. While Max can juggle any number of tasks while working, he can't find time for his wife Paige (Andie MacDowell), and when she announces that she's divorcing him, he admits to himself (but not to her) that he deliberately put her through emotional trauma; Paige leaves to do volunteer work in the Third World, hoping to bring new meaning to her life. Very little reaches Max on an emotional level until Cat (Traci Lind), a stunt performer, is seriously injured on the set of Max's latest project. Not long after, Max is first car-jacked, then kidnapped by a pair of desperate thugs. He escapes and is given shelter by a group of Mexican-American gardeners. Wanting to retreat from the physical and spiritual violence that has become a key part of his life, Max opts to work with the gardening crew and stay away from his old life, remaining "missing" in the eyes of the world as he searches for a new life. Meanwhile, Max and his secretary Claire (Rosiland Chao) become aware of a secret plan that Ray Bering (Gabriel Byrne) has prepared for the city of Los Angeles, which will essentially put the entire town under constant surveillance, with the goal of ending violent crime once and for all. Frederic Forrest, Udo Kier, and legendary director Samuel Fuller also star; Ry Cooder composed the film's striking original score.
film-producer, director, filmmaker, investigation, stuntperson, kidnapping, rescue, surveillance, actor, escape, hitman, on-the-run, gardener, injury