A Hollywood movie producer Mike Max (Bill Pullman) goes on the run following an attempt on his life and the subsequent death of his pursuers. All this comes in the wake of Mike receiving a top-secret file from a Los Angeles surveillance operative, Ray, who finds his investigations into the murders blocked by red tape.

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Wenders makes heavy weather of paranoia.

As an early admirer of the films of German director Wim Wenders, I've been increasingly disappointed with his recent work. Opening nationally on January the 8th is The End Of Violence, which he made in America and in which he seems to be trying to say something about contemporary paranoia – but the message is exceedingly confusing.

There are two stories here. Bill Pullman plays Mike Max, a producer of violent movies (though he seems altogether too charming and pleasant); constantly communicating, via the most modern technology, with his minions, he has no time for his bored wife, Andie MacDowell. When Max is kidnapped – in an excruciatingly clumsy and badly acted scene – he manages to escape when his kidnappers are mysteriously killed, but instead of going home, he hides out with a Latino family. Meanwhile, in seemingly unconnected sequences, Ray Bering (Gabriel Byrne), located in a hilltop observatory, keeps watch on crime in the LA streets via a series of hidden cameras.

The End Of Violence is quite ravishingly photographed, and, for a while, its potent images and intriguing plotting keep the viewer entranced; but gradually we realise it's not about anything much, at least, not about anything I could decipher – the ending poses more questions than it answers. Sad to see the late Sam Fuller, clearly out of it, as Byrne's father; and sad to see Wenders making such heavy weather of potentially interesting material.