Mike Max is a Hollywood producer who became powerful and rich thanks to brutal and bloody action films. His ignored wife Paige is close to leaving him. Suddenly Mike is kidnapped by two bandits, but escapes and hides out with his Mexican gardener's family for a while. At the same time, surveillance expert Ray Bering is looking for what happens in the city, but it is not clear what he wants. The police investigation for Max's disappearance is led by detective Doc Block, who falls in love with actress Cat who is playing in ongoing Max's production.
Set in contemporary Los Angeles, the brilliant satirical thriller is a profoundly thoughtful meditation on the interplay of mass communications, violence and paranoia in modern life. It is also a computer- and video-age tribute to Michelangelo Antonioni's 1966 film ''Blow Up'' that explores the limitations of truth as revealed through pictures. Bill Pullman is bracingly feisty as a producer of action-adventure films whose macho brio is shattered after he is carjacked and nearly killed, and he goes into hiding. Andie MacDowell is his neglected wife who seizes his empire after his disappearance. Gabriel Byrne is the ambivalent mastermind behind an elaborate surveillance system that the Government is secretly testing in Los Angeles. While monitoring that system, he is witness to a crime he doesn't understand. Ry Cooder composed the gorgeous, shivering musical score. Stephen Holden
1997-09-12 | Stephen Holden | Read the New York Times Review of The End of Violence