Don’t Come Knocking
Rather than live on the street, you can come stay with me, Sarah.

Theatrical Release Date: 03/17/2006
Director: Wim Wenders
Cast: Sam Shepard, Jessica Lange, Sarah Polley, Tim Roth, Gabriel Mann, Eva Marie Saint, Fairuza Balk

“Don’t Come Knocking” is the tale of a past his prime Western movie star trying to create a sense of family and have a real life after decades of boozing and womanizing.

So far so good, right?

Playing the washed up actor is Sam Shepard, who also wrote the film. Shepard has made a career of playing tough yet emotionally vulnerable and viable characters and his role in this film is right up that alley.

In the film, Shepard abandons the movie he is filming because he is sick of living his life out of a bottle and creating connections only with random women he meets in bars.

At first stopping off to see his mom (Eva Marie Saint) whom he hasn’t seen in about twenty years, Shepard discovers he may have a son, resulting from a brief relationship on a movie he shot in Montana.

So off Shepard goes to meet his son and maybe find a reason for his existence. On his heels is Tim Roth who is a member of the completion bond agency responsible for guaranteeing producers get a finished film no matter what.

As Shepard arrives in Montana, he not only meets his son (Gabriel Mann) but also a possible daughter (Sarah Polley) from another brief fling. And for good measure, Shepard also gives a pass at rekindling the spark with Mann’s mother (Jessica Lange).

It must be late. I feel like I’m rambling and explaining the plot isn’t all that exciting.

Here’s the breakdown.

The acting is good. Fairuza Balk plays Mann’s girlfriend and is the only real bit of comedy in the film. The cast as a whole is decent and Shepard is predictably quite suited for a role he wrote for himself. My special attention goes to Sarah Polley.

Already a favorite of mine (if you haven’t already, see “My Life Without Me”) Polley is the one character I felt really made a genuine connection. Her ability to seem stoic and wise even in the face of overwhelming emotional turmoil is a rarity and I need to figure out how to get her to play a part in my screenplay. (If you ever read this Sarah, call me).

Fantasies and delusions aside, “Don’t Come Knocking” unfortunately lives up to its title and failed to come knocking on my good cinema door. It’s decent, the acting is good and director Wim Wenders did a nice job of using the natural beauty of the Utah/Montana area.

However, the film felt like it was wallowing in its own self-pity. It moved really slowly and I would have been more interested in seeing how Shepard’s stumble into his kids’ lives really affected them in the longer term.

I really though about giving this the benefit of the doubt but I’d feel a bit insincere recommending it to all but the hardcore art house groupies. “Don’t Come Knocking” gets 2 raps out of 5 on the door and don’t let it hit you on your ass on your way out of the theater.