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July 13, 2005

"Point Blank"

Michael Blowhard writes:

Dear Blowhards --

Finally available on DVD: John Boorman's legendary (and trippily amazing) "Point Blank." It's a near-abstract crime thriller starring Lee Marvin in an iconic tough-guy role; with John Vernon and Angie Dickinson first-class in hardboiled supporting roles; and featuring some of the flashiest camerawork and editing of the 1960s. Very little that goes on onscreen makes much sense, but the film is satisfyingly sleazy, pungent, and intense anyway.

Fans of "Kill Bill" may enjoy "Point Blank"'s somewhat similar style: hallucinatory, over-the-top, getting-high-on-itself. The film was based on "The Hunter," the same Donald Westlake novel that served as the basis for Mel Gibson's 1999 "Payback," which I didn't think was all that bad, really.

Boorman is one of the most verbally articulate of all film directors; he published an excellent diary about making his film "The Emerald Forest," and he has edited one of the best movie magazines ever. So I'm looking forward to sampling his director's commentary.



posted by Michael at July 13, 2005


Lee Marvin and Angie Dickinson... sounds like the 1964 remake of "The Killers," which was notable for Clu Galager's prototypical Tarantino-style hit man, and Ronald Reagan's only film role as a villain. Lee Marvin took the part as a personal challenge to one-up some of Hollywood's finest B actors, which he succeeded in doing through a perpetually sweaty, hungover haze. The scenes with Marvin are absorbing, the rest are third-rate filler.

Posted by: Laurence Aurbach on July 14, 2005 12:09 PM

And let's not forget the (fairly) recent play on the title "Point Blank"--i.e., "Grosse Pointe Blank". I always wondered how many movie-goers in the 1990s caught the reference.

As I recall the original, Lee Marvin is dispatched at the end by being edited out of the film! (You don't see him get shot, or stabbed, or whatever...)

Freaky movie, man...Let's see J.L. Godard do better than that!

Posted by: Friedrich von Blowhard on July 14, 2005 2:50 PM

Godard's Made in U.S.A., from 1966, is based on The Jugger, Donald Westlake's sixth "Parker" novel. Anna Karina plays the Parker character. This actually makes more sense than some of the casting for movies based on Westlake's other novels.

Posted by: Jon Hastings on July 14, 2005 3:08 PM

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