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103 minutes · 1987
This 1987 directorial collaboration between Robert Frank and Rudy Wurlitzer, working from an original screenplay by Wurlitzer, yields a quintessential road movie that moves from New York City to the eastern edge of Canada. A young musician (Kevin J. O'Connor) is hired to track down a legendary guitar maker named Elmore Silk, who has been missing for about two decades. Encountering a series of characters (including Silk's younger brother, a daughter living in a trailer park, and a former lover) and adventures on the road, he gradually comes closer to solving the mystery of his prey's disappearance, a process that is eventually completed by the enigmatic Silk himself. Ambling along like a wry, laid-back "Heart of Darkness," this likable and touching film makes good use of Frank's remarkable photographic eye and Wurlitzer's witty, acerbic, and quasi-mystical handling of myth that has served him well in his novels. The results are a resonant reflection on the music business and a memorable ode to wanderlust—with lots of good music (by Dr. John, Joe Strummer, David Johansen, Tom Waits, and others) on the sound track. With Tom Waits, Harris Yulin, Bulle Ogier, David Johansen, Dr. John, Rita MacNeil, Wayne Robson, and Mary Margaret O'Hara.

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