Point Blank (1967)
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Based on Donald E. Westlake's novel The Hunter, John Boorman's gangster film hauntingly merges a generic revenge story with a European art cinema sensibility. In Alcatraz to divvy up the spoils from a robbery, thief Walker (Lee Marvin) is instead shot point blank by his double-crossing friend Mal Reese (John Vernon) and left to die while Reese takes off with Walker's wife Lynne (Sharon Acker) and his $93,000. Resurrected, the stone-faced Walker returns to Los Angeles a couple of years later to seek revenge on Mal with the help of the enigmatic Yost (Keenan Wynn) and Lynne's sister Chris (Angie Dickinson). Wanting little but his cash, Walker implacably penetrates Mal's lair and the hierarchy of the shady "Organization," registering no emotion about the string of murders left in his wake, as his thoughts repeatedly return to the past that brought him there. In his first American feature, Boorman transforms a stripped-down revenge plot into a surreal meditation on the gangster's spiritual demise, using flashbacks and startling shifts in setting to interweave Walker's fractured memories with his extraordinarily photographed odyssey through L.A. Marvin's chillingly stoic presence further hints at the ambiguities in Chris's observation that Walker "died at Alcatraz, all right." Brutal in the violence that it shows and suggests, Point Blank opened in the U.S. in the same period as Bonnie and Clyde, becoming one more testament to the genre-bending and ground-breaking possibilities of the nascent Hollywood New Wave. Although Point Blank was mostly overlooked in 1967, Boorman's visual adventurousness, and Marvin's amoral and apathetic antihero, have since made Point Blank seem one of the key films of the mid-late '60s, a precursor to revisionist experimentations from Martin Scorsese to Quentin Tarantino. It was remade as the 1999 Mel Gibson vehicle Payback. … More
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Critic Reviews for Point Blank
There are moments of breathtaking visual creativity, from the not-quite-freeze-frames over the opening credits to a series of confrontational close-ups when things turn violent.
It gets back into the groove of Hollywood thrillers, after the recent glut of spies, counterspies, funny spies, anti-hero spies and spy-spier spies.
An almost experimental discourse on crime, punishment and revenge brilliantly shot by Philip H. Lathrop.
Boorman brought a fresh eye to the LA locations in a film frequently remade but never equalled.
A movie to saviour again and again on the biggest screen you can get to.
Has aged as well as Lee Marvin's brown jacket and tangerine shirt ensemble - that is to say, spectacularly.
Can be seen as heralding a turning point in Hollywood cinema, which was to lead to the innovative filmmaking of the 1970s and beyond.
Boorman brings an existential bleakness and depth to his genre material (adapted from Donald E. Westlake's novel), and Marvin's minimal dialogue enhances the impact of his performance.
Gritty, raw crime drama featuring tough Lee Marvin.
O roteiro pouco inspirado ganha novos contornos graças à performance durona de Marvin e, principalmente, as experiências de montagem feitas por Henry Berman.
...one of the best, toughest, and most grimly cold-blooded mystery noirs Hollywood has given us.
Marvin carries much of the film on his gravelly, innate charm, but even he can't sustain one note that long
Influenced by the classy Euro-art style of French director Alain Resnais.
Scary and exciting at the same time, establishing Lee Marvin as the original Terminator.
What makes Point Blank so extraordinary is Boorman's virtuoso use of such unconventional avant-garde stylistics to saturate the proceedings with a classical noir mood of existential torpor and romanticized fatalism.
Lee Marvin makes a perfect, unfazed human center to John Boorman's bizarre, psychedelic universe.
Fascinating, harsh gangster epic from Boorman.
Audience Reviews for Point Blank
Walker (Lee Marvin) is shot and left for dead by his partner during a heist; he survives and returns to demand the mob return the money he's owed, fighting his way up the ladder until he reaches the top man. There's star power and style to burn in this often overlooked early film from John Boorman that perfectly balances arthouse cool with gritty action.More
Highly stylised, brilliantly written and with 4 or 5 fantastically performed and written characters. It's kitch, it's cool but it is also quite raw. It's got so many great scenes it would be easier to say each scene is great in its own unique way. John Vernon's naked body falling off a building is my personal favourite. Lee Marvin is great in a performance that precedes him but I'm a big fan of Keenan Wynn, he really made this film for me. I'm a huge Hitchcock fan but i'm sure that this must have been a bit of a breath of fresh air for many of his fans (and non-fans) at the time.More
Discordant editing, jarring violence, and an angular storyline give Point Blank it's unique 60s cross between french new wave cinema and classic film noir. Lee Marvin is the guy who is betrayed and left for dead by his partner over the sum of $90,000. While it's not exactly chump change today, it would've been a small fortune back in the days of the film's setting. At first, it seems as if he's after revenge alone, but it quickly becomes obvious he's after his money. With the help of a mysterious benefactor, he tracks down his wife, who along with his former partner betrayed him. She has no idea where he is, only that she's sorry and wishes to die. When he finally does find the former partner (with the help of his sister-in-law, as played by Angie Dickinson), it turns out it's only the beginning of his journey for justice. Is Lee Marvin's "Walker" character insane? Some automaton bent on achieving a goal that has long since lost all meaning? As Dickenson exclaims in one scene "You really did die at alcatraz". There are moments of surrealism, dreamlike moments where things don't make a whole lot of sense. Walker may be motivated by hatred, but there's very little emotion to what he does. He's a broken man, a monster.More
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