Synopsis by Mark Deming
Director Wim Wenders and writer Sam Shepard, who collaborated on the award-winning film Paris, Texas, once again join forces for this dark drama of a man trying to turn over a new leaf late in life. Howard Spence (Sam Shepard) is a veteran actor who has been a popular Western star since the mid-'70s. Spence's onscreen image as a strong, principled lawman is a severe contrast to his life off the set, which has been dominated by drinking, drugs, and promiscuous womanizing. However, Spence has begun to find his hedonistic life a shallow existence, and one day, in the midst of filming his latest movie, he simply hops on his horse and rides away, eventually making his way to the small Nevada town where his mother lives. Mother (Eva Marie Saint) has little interest in seeing her wayward son after so many years, but she does share a recently discovered bit of information with him -- one of Spence's former girlfriends stopped by with word that she had given birth to his son years before. Spence borrows his father's old car and drives to Butte, MT, where he finds Doreen (Jessica Lange), the woman who was his lover years ago. Doreen runs a tavern where her son, Earl (Gabriel Mann), plays for the locals with his rock band; Spence is in fact Earl's father, but the young man has no interest in meeting his biological father, and shuts out Spence as the actor tries to get to know him. As Spence struggles to find some sort of familial connection in Butte, he makes friends with a young woman named Sky (Sarah Polley), only to discover she was also fathered by him during his rowdy younger days. Don't Come Knocking's distinguished supporting cast includes Tim Roth, George Kennedy, Fairuza Balk, Julia Sweeney, and Tim Matheson.
actor, alcoholism, detective, mother, reunion