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Point Blank is a 1967 crime film directed by John Boorman and starring Lee Marvin and Angie Dickinson, adapted from the classic pulp novel The Hunter by Donald E. Westlake, writing as Richard Stark. Boorman directed the film at Marvin's request and Marvin played a central role in the film's development and staging .

Plot

Walker (Lee Marvin) -- originally named "Parker" in Stark's novel -- works together with his friend, Mal Reese (John Vernon in his first major role), to steal a large amount of cash from a courier transporting funds for a major gambling operation, with the deserted Alcatrazmarker island as a drop point.

Reese then double-crosses Walker by shooting him multiple times, leaving him for dead. Reese also makes off with Walker's wife Lynne (Sharon Acker).

Walker recovers from the shooting. With assistance from the mysterious Yost (Keenan Wynn), who seems to know everything about everybody, Walker sets out to find Reese, take his revenge and recover the $93,000 he is owed. Reese used all of the money from the job to pay back a debt to a crime syndicate called "The Organization" and get back in its good graces.

With memories of happy times together, Walker goes to Los Angeles to pay back his wife and his best friend for their treachery. He bursts in on Lynne and riddles her bed with bullets, just in case Reese is in it. A distraught Lynne tells him she no longer wants to live, then takes an overdose of pills.

Walker is told that a car dealer named Stegman (Michael Strong) might know where Reese can be found. He takes Stegman for a wild ride, smashing the car and terrorizing him until Stegman reveals where Reese is living. He is told that Reese has now taken up with Walker's sister-in-law, Chris.

Breaking in on Chris (Angie Dickinson), he learns that she actually despises Reese and had considered Walker the best thing ever to happen to her sister. Willing to help in any way, Chris agrees to a sexual tryst with Reese inside his heavily guarded penthouse apartment just so she can gain access and unbolt a door for Walker.

With a gun to Reese's head, Walker persuades him to give up the names of his Organization superiors -- Carter, Brewster (Carroll O'Connor) and Fairfax -- so that he can make somebody pay back his $93,000. He then forces a naked Reese off the balcony and watches him plunge to his death.

Chris makes love with Walker but is repulsed by how cold he has become. "You did die at Alcatraz that day," she says.

After next confronting Carter (Lloyd Bochner) for his money, Walker is set up. A hit man (James B. Sikking) with a high-powered rifle is assigned to kill him, but instead Walker sees to it that Carter and Stegman are the ones who get shot.

Yost takes him to Brewster's home, where Walker lies in wait. He points a gun at Brewster and demands payment of his money. Brewster insists that no one will pay, but Walker says if Brewster won't, he will kill him and try Fairfax next.

They return to Alcatraz, which is still being used as a drop. Brewster brings a case that he claims contains the money. Walker doesn't trust him and refuses to show himself. The hit man is also in the darkness with his rifle. Brewster is shot. It is Yost who emerges from the shadows, whereupon Brewster calls out to Walker: "This is him. This is Fairfax!"

Walker is encouraged to come claim his money, but he slips back into the shadows instead.

Production

This was the first film ever to shoot at Alcatrazmarker, the infamous prison which had been shut down since 1963, only three years before the production.

Cast



Style

Set primarily in and around Los Angeles, Point Blank combines elements of film noir with stylistic touches of the European nouvelle vague, sun-drenched scenery, psychological themes, sudden violence, complex flashbacks, rapid rhythm changes, and sound effects .

Reception

In her 1967 New Yorker review of Bonnie and Clyde, Pauline Kael wrote: "A brutal new melodrama is called Point Blank, and it is." Roger Ebert writing in his review of the film, said "as suspense thrillers go Point Blank is pretty good." David Thomson praises the film: "Point Blank is a masterpiece... iconographic... urban thriller... a crucial film in the development of cinema's portrait of... organized crime." . Kael later call Point Blank "intermittently dazzling" .

Slant Magazine reviewer Nick Schager notes in a 2003 review: "What makes Point Blank so extraordinary, however, is not its departures from genre conventions, but 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."

Influence

Point Blank was loosely remade as the Hong Kong action film Full Contact (1992) . It was remade again in Hollywood as Payback (1999). Outside the US, Payback was distributed by Warner Bros., which acquired the rights to Point Blank through its 1996 merger with Turner Entertainment, which owns the pre-1986 MGM library.

References

  1. Kael, Pauline. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Atlantic Monthly Press, 1968. ISBN 0-7145-0658-3


External links




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