Point Blank



US 1967, dir. John Boorman, 92mLee Marvin as Walker in Point Blank

Lee Marvin is the unstoppable Walker, cheated out of $40,000 and left for dead by his treacherous business partner and ex-wife. He’ll stop at nothing to recover his loot, leaving a bloody trail in his wake as he ploughs through the various levels of the shady Organisation in search of an elusive Mr Big. Countless British directors have headed west to Hollywood, but Boorman’s vision of America in general, and Los Angeles in particular, has never been surpassed. LA becomes a vital character in the plot, a tough, flashy background for the brutal machinations of Marvin and his prey, hovering between old criminal codes and a harsh new corporate world – much of the film’s black humour derives from the fact that Marvin’s opponents can’t believe he’s so steamed over such a relatively trivial sum of cash. Boorman pulls out all the stops, transforming a standard-issue gangster plot (disastrously remade as Mel Gibson’s Payback 30 years later) into a jagged kaleidoscope of imagery and sounds. This unashamedly arty approach runs the risk of self-indulgence and obscurity, but Marvin’s forceful central performance pulls everything into focus, supported by terrific turns from Angie Dickinson, John Vernon and Carroll O’Connor. Packed with memorable lines, scenes and shots, the no-holds-barred, perfectly paced Point Blank elevated mainstream cinema to a startling new level, setting a benchmark that almost all subsequent thrillers have struggled to match

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by Neil Young