Seen now, the movie seems as timely as it is outdated, its themes contemporary even if its clothing and hairdos are anything but.
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World on a Wire, while too slow and diffuse to count as a lost masterpiece, is valuable in expanding our sense of what Fassbinder could do and is also a source of much visual and intellectual pleasure in its own right.
A bit of a slog at 205 minutes, World on a Wire builds up to a satisfyingly nutty finale.
World on a Wire is the discovery of the season, rarely screened in America but very much a key chapter in Fassbinder's story--a step toward bigger budgets and slicker production values, yet clarifying of his core artistic legacy.
World on a Wire is slowed down compared to most Fassbinder. He usually evokes overwrought passions, sudden angers and jealousies, emotional explosions, people hiding turmoil beneath a surface of pose. Here there's less of that emotional energy. But if you know Fassbinder, you might want to see this as an exercise of his mind, a demonstration of how one of his stories might be transformed by the detachment of science fiction.
Fassbinder's sumptuous 205-minute epic is intriguing as a prototype for later and more palatably cynical sci-fi standards like "Blade Runner" or even "Total Recall."