The Austrian soul is a wide land. We've known that since Schnitzler told us so. But that there are also cowboys and Indians, bounty hunters, bank robbers, piano players, bar ladies, saloon beauties, travelling preachers and other artefacts of the wild west about has only come to light since Wanted.
The true westerns are in the mind. The prairie might be a condition rather than a place. A surgeon commits voluntarily to the insane asylum because he'd like to imagine riding through the plains as a cowboy, saving women and standing up in duels, rather than having to sort out in real life why his wife has left him and why his last surgery went wrong. Escape from reality in its most refined form.
Such an asylum is a fine place, as far as our fugitive is concerned, and his cynicism and disinterest drive the mad psychiatrist even madder. And whenever things go slightly wrong: just close eyes and off you go, into the wild west!
Pity that the idyll is disrupted. By a priest. Alarmed by the worried parents, the man of God (who, by the way, has enough problems of his own) is asked to bring the lost sheep back to reality. Father Hermann is a childhood-friend of our hero. That facilitates first contact, but mind travelling turns out to be a contagious disease. And dangerous at that, too. Because who stumbles in fantasy may easily fall in real life.
HS: "I'm quite proud to be one of the few Austrians directors who ever shot a western, even though just a half one. Wanted is also special in that it's the only one of my films I did not co-write."