Point Blank DVD
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Directed by John Boorman
Produced in 1967
Main Language - English
Countries & Regions - American film
With its powerhouse performance from Lee Marvin as a man relentlessly seeking retribution in a modernist LA, Point Blank holds its own against Antonioni and Roeg, writes Alexander Ballinger.
Point Blank is much more than a classy adaptation of Donald Westlake's pulp novel. It holds its own against Antonioni (in the composition of actors within architectural space and the complexity of its colour scheme and sound design) and Resnais, Renoir and Roeg (in its multi-narratives and flashbacks). But its longevity is also due to the powerhouse performance of the deeply troubled Lee Marvin, without whose wholehearted support the film would not exist in all its mesmeric glory.
In fact, it’s difficult to think about Point Blank without conjuring up the iconic image of Marvin striding down a corridor, his brown brogues echoing relentlessly as he seeks retribution throughout a modernist Los Angeles. Marvin is simply known as Walker and some poor soul owes him $93,000 and somebody’s got to pay.
Walker is furious, his best friend Reese (John Vernon) has double crossed him in a heist, nabbed his wife (Sharon Acker), and then shot and left him for dead in a rancid Alcatraz cell. Somehow (there's much critical conjecture as to whether Point Blank is Walker's last fractured thoughts and wish fulfilment) he escapes Alcatraz and tracks down Reese and a trio of shadowy figures who help run what's known as 'The Organization'.
Walker's quest for his money leads him into a memorable series of encounters that generally don't turn out too well for those he meets. First off, it's his washed-out soon to be ex-wife, then a slimy used car salesman (with the name of Big John) who really regrets accompanying him on a test drive. With the help of his sister-in-law (a sultry Angie Dickinson) who's also been bedding Reese and has a half-an-eye on Walker (their ferocious foreplay makes for some pretty insalubrious viewing), he inveigles his way into his nemesis's closely guarded penthouse. Some more meetings with a couple of Organization bigwigs, a few corpses later and Walker is back where he started, waiting in the darkness for another cash drop-off in Alcatraz.
When Marvin died his widow asked Boorman if he wanted anything to keep to remember his friend by? He chose those big brown brogues.
Alexander Ballinger on 16th May 2013
Author of 33 reviews
A mesmerising sixties crime drama in which a man left for dead by his unfaithful wife and her mobster boyfriend exacts a terrible revenge. Perhaps.
Lee Marvin plays the remorseless Walker in this neo-noir classic, whose fractured approach to time, story, dialogue and even colour, makes for an enthralling dream of a movie. One by one, he finishes off the members of a crime group called the Organization, who are sitting on the 93,000 dollars he was swindled out of in a heist. Angie Dickinson plays the accomplice who uses her seductive wiles to ensnare one of Walker's prey.
Point Blank was the first film ever to shoot at the infamous prison of Alcatraz, which was closed in since 1963, three years before the production.
Length: 87 mins
Aspect ratio: 2.35:1
Format: DVD Colour
Released: 20th May 2013
Cat No: 1412271
- Dutch release
- English language menus, original English soundtrack, optional subtitles
- Audio commentary with John Boorman and Steven Soderbergh
- Documentaries - The Rock Part I & II dealing with filming on Alcatraz and an interview with a former prisoner.