Paris, Texas

Paris, Texas ★★★★★

My 1,000th Review

***Mild Spoilers***

When you look at a railway track, with two parallel lines that travel forever to reach the horizon, you realise how long it takes for those two lines to eventually seem to touch. In Paris, Texas it takes a very long time for characters on the same destructive path to finally connect. This applies in multiple ways. Travis, played by the legendary Harry Dean Stanton, takes a long time to re-sync his life with his brother's. Travis also needs time to reconcile with his son, their relationship solidified when they travel parallel down a street. Perhaps most significantly, the paths Travis and his wife have ended up on seem destined to never meet again, despite both spiralling out from the same destructive tendencies. Spinning on a beach, arms draped around one another in a dizzy fever, these memories are gone. Jealousy was mistaken for love and the horizon became further away. When the tracks finally cross, Paris, Texas enters a perfect third act, making this long walk to nowhere finally reach a destination: the beginning of a new story that's unseen until you reach the end of the world.

Paris, Texas is a film of gaps. There's a gap where a voice should be. There's gaps of silence in the gently twanging music, music which incidentally is so soothing and delicate that it's as unobtrusive as silence. Paris, Texas makes you feel the joy of silence, contemplating the blissfully silent mind that has gaps where memories should be. There's a gap in Paris where a house should be built, there's a gap in time where years have been lost, there's a gap in a wall that reflects back at you. The family of Travis is filled with gaps, especially once he stopped seeing people and only saw a gap where they were (an image, an idea, a reflection). Paris, Texas is a film of the gaps of life and the gaps within the souls of the characters. The title refers to a place, a place where Travis was conceived, but in parallel, a place where Travis planned to create a life for his family. It was the site of his planned fate and his failure to leave it anything but a gap only shows where fate has actually taken him.

Paris, Texas is filled with colours, from bright block reds to hazy green lights. Its mural of people becomes a mural of America. It finds high culture in the American landscape, a beauty and a purity to the desolation in the land of cities and deserts. Paris, Texas is about getting lost in a vast country. Movies aren't real but you can still feel love when watching them, much like Travis does when watching the footage of his family. Paris, Texas is one of those films that just feels right. I can't fully explain why, but I loved it.


So this is quite a milestone, writing 1,000 reviews for Letterboxd. Compared to when I started writing here, years ago, my writing is much better than it ever used to be. I feel that I have, to some extent, found my voice. For that, I have to thank each and every one of you, for your constructive criticism, confidence-boosting positivity, and general good company. Thanks once again, and here's to the next 1,000!

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