[Film Review] Point Blank (1967)

Point Blank poster.jpg

Title: Point Blank
Year: 1967
Country: USA
Language: English
Genre: Crime, Thriller
Director: John Boorman
Screenwriters:
Alexander Jacobs
David Newhouse
Rafe Newhouse
based on the novel of Donald E. Westlake
Music: Johnny Mandel
Cinematography: Philip H. Lathrop
Cast:
Lee Marvin
Angie Dickinson
John Vernon
Michael Strong
Keenan Wynn
Lloyd Bochner
Carroll O’Connor
Sharon Acker
James Sikking
Sid Haig
Michael Bell
Rating: 8.1/10

Point Blank 1967.jpg

A betrayed, taciturn loner clinically exacts his revenge in John Boorman’s POINT BLANK, which stylishly epitomizes the one-man-against-an-evil-organization trope, starring Lee Marvin as the first-name-eluded Walker, one of his most eminent characters that taps into the time-honored appeal of wounded masculinity.

Marvin’s star charisma is unequivocally put into great use here with a hard-boiled patina and an aloof containment of cynicism, double-crossed by his best friend Mal Reese (Vernon), who also takes away his wife Lynne (Acker), Walker’s ascendancy as a hell-bent one-track mind strips him of all other earthly trappings (emotion included) but his comparatively petty pecuniary restitution, even the proactive approaching of Lynne’s sultry sister Chris (Dickinson, vamped up with appreciable depth into a seductress’ seesawing psyche) can hardly stir his presence of mind, paired with his astute lucidity when grappling with his sinister but clueless antagonists (crammed with memorable supporting turns like a lecherous sleaze in the form of John Vernon, or a suave but scheming Lloyd Bochner, eventually hoisted by his own petard) in bottom-up expediency, his final wordless fading into the darkness is a trenchant retort to a world suffused with vice and avarice, sardonically, Walker never liquidates anyone with his own hands.

Saliently, Boorman visualizes an unorthodox editing modus operandi to spice up the action, from the treacherous prologue, to its measured ambush with the organization’s supremo, aided by editor Henry Berman’s studious dexterity, it defies audience’s wont viewing habit by strewing the plot with fleeting flashback that impinges on the film’s coherence but whips up a quaint tension that strangely buttresses its thinly panned-out story and its Neo-noir mores.

As cool as a cucumber, POINT BLANK pointedly retains its epoch-reflecting atmospherics and vigorous mode, a sound testimony of Boorman’s stupendous versatility and Marvin’s indelible screen incarnation that would emanate huge impact on its many a cinematic progeny, a flinty enforcer whom nothing can hold back.

companion pieces: Don Siegel’s THE KILLERS (1964, 5.3/10); Boorman’s EXCALIBUR (1981, 7.2/10), HOPE AND GLORY (1987, 7.7/10); Jean-Pierre Melville’s LE SAMOURAI (1967, 8.5/10).

Oscar 1967 - Point Blank.jpg

 

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