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With: Nicholas Ray, Wim Wenders
Written by: Nicholas Ray, Wim Wenders
Directed by: Nicholas Ray, Wim Wenders
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 90
Date: 09/11/1980

Lightning Over Water (1980)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Nick's Movie

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

When Nicholas Ray was diagnosed with cancer in the late 70s, Wim Wenders traveled to New York to help Ray make one last film, Lightning Over Water (a.k.a. Nick's Movie) (1980, Anchor Bay, $24.98). A kind of rambling, autobiographical essay, the film follows Ray as he talks to some students, directs a play, lies in his hospital bed, and generally tries to hold onto his dignity. Wenders adds in some cruddy early-80s video from time to time, and the film is an odd mixture of powerful emotions and rambling nothingness. A few years earlier, Ray made a guest appearance in one of Wenders' best films, The American Friend (1977, Anchor Bay, $24.98), an adaptation of Patricia Highsmith's novel Ripley's Game. Dennis Hopper stars as Ripley, but the story's main character is actually a terminally ill art framer, Jonathan Zimmermann (Bruno Ganz), who is pegged as the perfect guy to pull off a hit in exchange for a free doctor visit. Another great, cool director, Samuel Fuller, also appears.

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