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Point Blank

A movie directed by John Boorman

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Relentlessly deadpan...and I'd buy a ticket to see the Mel Brooks version

  • Jun 16, 2011
Rating:
+3
When his buddy, Mal Reese, with his wife, Lynne, looking on, puts two bullets into Walker right after they've high-jacked a big haul on Alcatraz island, Walker gets mad...and then gets even. Walker somehow survives those gunshots and a year later he returns. For the next hour and a half, Walker (Lee Marvin) is going to say once if he says it ten times, "I want my money back." The Organization is not about to accommodate Walker, even if Walker's money is only a measly $93,000. That includes Reese, who now has Walker's wife and who has become one of the Organization's top men, all of whom look like business CEOs. While Walker relentlessly goes after his money and works his way up the corporate criminal ladder, he leaves a trail of corpses behind. Walker is shrewd, violent and deadpan, and he won't take "No" for an answer. That sums up Point Blank.
 
It must have been tiring having to prove in life and in the movies that he really was the tough-as-nails, seen-it-all, uber-macho main man, part bully, part cynic. For me, Lee Marvin was at his best playing secondary character roles. As a lead, more often than not he simply brought more of the same to the screen, but in a larger frame. He was queasily watchable in, for instance, The Big Heat, Bad Day at Black Rock, Seven Men From Now and, much later with star billing but in a character part, Gorky Park. But it was just pow, smash, bang in most of his star vehicles. If he'd been more willing to break out of his star persona, he might have been a memorable actor, not just a star. He did a superior job in the one role where he deliberately took a big risk, playing Hickey in the American Film Theater's television presentation of O'Neill's The Iceman Cometh. He not only placed himself deep in a complex role, he was working with very good actors, notably Robert Ryan and Fredric March. Marvin did a fine job, but then immediately returned to the same old same old.
 
As for Point Blank, there's no doubt that John Boorman keeps it moving, throws in some perhaps unintended as well as intended irony and a lot of intended violence. He keeps the focus on the relentless Walker and Marvin doesn't disappoint. Point Blank hasn't aged well, in my view, even with Marvin's dynamically impassive (or impassively dynamic) performance, with the artsy clomp clomp clomp of Walker's shoes and Lynne's monologue with flashbacks as examples. A strong plus is the performances of the secondary characters, especially Carroll O'Connor and Keenan Wynn. With all that deadpan relentlessness, I just can't get out of my mind what Mel Brooks could have done with Point Blank. 
Relentlessly deadpan...and I'd buy a ticket to see the Mel Brooks version Relentlessly deadpan...and I'd buy a ticket to see the Mel Brooks version Relentlessly deadpan...and I'd buy a ticket to see the Mel Brooks version Relentlessly deadpan...and I'd buy a ticket to see the Mel Brooks version

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About the reviewer
C. O. DeRiemer ()
Ranked #33
Since I retired in 1995 I have tried to hone skills in muttering to myself, writing and napping. At 75, I live in one of those places where one moves from independent living to hospice. I expect to begin … more
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Director: John Boorman
Genre: Crime, Drama, Thriller
Release Date: 30 August 1967 (USA)
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Runtime: 92 min
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