Paris, Texas (1984)
The scene is set in a desert, Texas, one man is walking alone in the desert and stops to drink water before he walks on. The music is western folk, in slow and sombre setting a dull atmosphere.
His unshaven face and costume suggests he has been walking for a long time, and has a longer way to go, making the viewer question what he is doing there and why. He (Travis) finds a shop in which to steal ice to drink from before he collapses from exhaustion. A doctor sees him and examines him wondering who he is, phoning his brother to come and find him, who hasn’t seen him in over four years. He travels across the country to find him, where the strange man informs him he has disappeared.
He soon finds him to realise that he has no memory of his past, he left his three year old son for his brother Walter to look after four years ago, and can’t even recall if four years is a long time. He and his brother set off to piece together his life, in a bid to help him remember.
He reconnects with his son who is in the care of Walter and his wife, initially he doesn’t want to know his father, but their relationship progresses throughout the film, as Travis desperately tries to repair it and build a bond between him and his son Hunter.
As he gets closer to Hunter, he sets on a journey with him to find his wife, Jane who he had left. After tracking her down, he finds that she is selling her body in a peep show to make a living. His initial reaction was shock, then he decides to tell her how he feels in a moving monologue starting with, ‘I knew these two people.’ He tells their story in the third person, at first she is confused as to why a client would be telling such a story, until he reveals the couple living in a caravan, being in love, but how the man was so set that his wife would betray him and cheat on him, the jealousy consumed him and started the breakdown of their marriage, and his possession over her. It all becomes clear who the mystery visitor is, and the realisation reduces her to tears. Jane finally tells him how she struggled to get over him, when he left and how she had always thought about him. He reveals himself behind the mirror; he tells her that their son had been waiting to meet her again in a nearby hotel. The final scene ends with a loving embrace between Jane and Hunter.
The beginning starts very slow and makes the audience ask questions that take a long time to be answered, after the first half an hour nothing much had happened and I was about to switch off when the plot started falling together and the clever, moving storyline enticed me and I was glad for sticking with it and watching on. Paris, Texas is a heart-warming film about loss and loneliness, it is very unpredictable and keeps the viewer guessing what the outcome will be as at times I thought it could swing either way.