Point Break



USA 1991 : Kathryn Bigelow : 122 mins

For historical interest, we present a verbatim reproduction of Neil Young’s first-ever published film review. It appeared in Mancunion, the student newspaper of Manchester University, some time in late 1991.

Kathryn Bigelow is probably the most prominent woman director around. Her career has followed a smooth rise from the arthouse – 1982’s biker hit The Loveless – to the multiplex; and, now of all things, a Patrick Swayze surfing vehicle.

But Point Break turns out to be far from the sell-out rubbish it could have been. It’s a very enjoyable, expertly handled thriller which, while not achieving all of its aims, manages to be a lot more interesting than most commercial Hollywood products.

Top-billed Swayze takes a back seat to the “young dumb and full of come” Keanu Reeves as FBI graduate Johnny Utah.

The plot twists are silly and predictable, but such is Bigelow’s knack for brilliant action she gets away with most of the flaws and plot holes. The surfing itself is too familiar – some bits are very ‘Baywatch’, while the embarrassing wild parties and Californian mysticism are straight from The Doors. In the end Bigelow’s stated intention to incorporate Zen-Faust meditations in an old-fashioned cop story, doesn’t quite come off.

by Neil Young
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