Saturday, April 3, 2010

Point Blank (1967)

Dir: John Boorman
Warner Bros. DVD

Revenge, obviously a theme that strikes a nerve with numerous people as it is the subject of several films. It can be contributed to the fact that we've all felt wronged at some point or another and the country collectively felt wronged in the late sixties and into the early seventies, hence the amount of revenge thrillers being produced during the time. But revenge has never been as poetic and stylish as it is in Boorman's Point Blank. This is a film I have always been very fond of but haven't sat down to watch it in years. Thankfully the movie lived up to my memory plus some. From the second it started I was completely captivated, like I was watching it for the first time again. The story cuts back and forth showing us glimpses of a job gone wrong with Lee Marvin & John Vernon and shots of a determined Marvin walking down a long corridor, his ominously loud footsteps permeating the soundtrack. This sets the stage for Marvin's tale of being double-crossed by his partner and his wife and now being on the path to get back what's his, $93,000. Keenan Wynn plays a mysterious figure that helps Marvin down the road to the men he must deal with to get his cash. Vernon is convincingly slimy and menacing as the double-crosser in one of his first major screen roles. Angie Dickinson plays the sister of Marvin's double-crossing wife and is, well, perfectly cast as the woman everyone desires. Boorman brings a bubbling energy to the narrative that is constantly seething, just ready to explode in short bursts of artistic violence. Not only are the visuals and rhythm of the film skillfully manipulated by the film's director but, like the line readings in his other early films, the dialog is delivered in such a perfect way that it made me giddy. The film is based on one of Donald E. Westlake's "Parker" novels, although the main character here is named Walker. The same story was remade by Mel Gibson in his film Payback, which Boorman had nothing nice to say about the film or it's star saying "He seems to think he's Lee Marvin. Except he's two feet shorter. And about one third the talent." The disc has commentary with Boorman and film director Steven Soderbergh whom I presume is on it because his film, The Limey, seems directly inspired by this one, but I have yet to listen to it. I have to say that I would consider this one of my favorite films of all time.


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