It’s great that there are so many versatile actors out there, able to enrich the directorial work of the men and women of cinema – but without direction, or clear direction at least, even the mighty will flounder. Yes, actors turn up on set, and when skilled they can turn their hand to the required creation. But occasionally they are unused by directors who don’t have vision, or vision enough that they can communicate.
Of all the actors here, it is probably Hannah Schygulla who comes across the worst in Wim Wenders’ production of Wrong Move (1975 - Falsche Bewegung). If you were asked after seeing the film what the actual characteristics of the character she played were, you might be sore pushed to provide them – other than something like, female, and a little mysterious. In fact, I’d go so far to say that if you took Hannah Schygulla out of this film all together, it would be hard to see it suffering as a whole.
Wrong Move has its fair share of Wenders characteristics; deep and resonating score; aerial photography; road movie plot; but there isn’t any more to commend it. You can always get excited about how carefully composed camera shots are in stuff like this, but it is rarely enough to entertain, I find.
The story that it is shows the wanderings of an aspiring young writer, Wilhelm Meister played by Rüdiger Vogler, who leaves his oppressive hometown, and mooches about West Germany gathering an odd cast of friends, and winds up alone in Zugspitze. His thoughts are sometimes presented in voice-over, but the thing to focus on are the set pieces, and of course the art direction. The movie is a very bare adaption of Goethe's Wilhelm Meister, generally considered to be the first Bildungsroman, but again, if you are watching this movie for these reasons, expect disappointment.
Largely, Wenders’ work is disappointing, but that’s not what the Ford Coppollas think, and though I am never afraid to watch one that I haven’t seen, they rarely do much to inspire me; as clearly Wim Wenders sometimes struggles to inspire actors.