In what might be described as the German answer to 'Five Easy Pieces' a restless blue-collar adventurer returns to Europe after a self-imposed three-year exile in Africa, only to find little changed at home, least of all himself. His wife is apathetic, his factory buddies are resentful of his independence, and his future is defined by little more than the four walls of a shabby skid row hotel and idle attention of a streetwise teenage waif with few illusions and even less ambition. Viewers familiar with Wim Wenders' moody urban angst will recognize here the similar post-midnight entropy and alienation afflicting nearly every character, none of whom is entirely sympathetic. In only his second feature director Uwe Schrader manages to capture all the aimless desperation of boredom, but without the usual inertia, and his film moves swiftly even when it isn't going anywhere.
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