Point Blank (1967)

Point Blank (1967)

John Boorman's classic, disorienting thriller still has all the strange menace and cool intrigue it did in 1967.

In 1967, John Boorman caused a sensation with his adaptation of Donald Westlake's crime thriller The Hunter, a movie that took Hollywood's marching-band certainties and added the cool Euro jazz of Godard and Antonioni. (I wonder about a possible further resemblance to Sidney Furie's conspiracy-espionage thriller The Ipcress File, which emerged two years previously.) Point Blank has not dated very much at all: an angular, spiky, startling picture that shifts a knight's move away from the thriller form.

Lee Marvin is Walker, the robber shot and left for dead by his criminal associates in the eerily deserted precincts of Alcatraz prison, where they had been planning to steal mob cash being secretly transported there by helicopter. After his miraculous and in fact superhuman recovery and escape, Walker plans to get back at the guy who ran off with his loot and his wife; this man is now part of the shadowy "Organisation" – a very 60s setup – and Walker becomes involved with his wife's beautiful, troubled sister, Chris (Angie Dickinson). It is a movie about memory: a gunshot is always liable to trigger the memory of previous violence, the trauma lurks nearby, at point-blank range, part of a skein of remembered bloodshed extending backwards as the revenge plot pushes forwards. An intriguing, disorientating 60s artefact.

More reading / notes:


Point Blank - The Documentary