When his wife goes into a troubled labor while he is on the road over 1200 miles away James Kowalski, an ex race car driver and a former Army Ranger, attempts to elude police while trying ... See full summary »
Charles Robert Carner
Larry Rayder is an aspiring NASCAR driver, Deke Sommers his mechanic. As they feel they collectively are the best, the only thing that is holding them back is money to build the best ... See full summary »
Insurance investigator Maindrian Pace and his team lead double-lives as unstoppable car thieves. When a South American drug lord pays Pace to steal 48 cars for him, all but one, a 1973 Ford... See full summary »
A huge solar flare is predicted to fry the Earth. Astronauts must go to the Sun to drop a talking bomb (Freddy) at the right time so the flare will point somewhere else. Giant IXL Corp CEO ... See full summary »
"The Driver" is a specialist in a rare business: he drives getaway cars in robberies. His exceptional talent prevented him from being caught yet. After another successful flight from the ... See full summary »
Khalil is an Arab diplomat who wants to not only make peace with Israel, but admit the Jewish state as a member of OPEC. This instantly makes him a target for a series of ingeniously ... See full summary »
Richard C. Sarafian
The story of two very different men, a horrific car accident, and a crime committed deep in the woods. Various facts and stories are cautiously presented, but the pieces of the puzzle don't fall into place straight away.
Tony Petrocelli is an Italian-American Harvard-educated lawyer who gave up the big money and frenetic pace of major-metropolitan life to practice in a sleepy city in the American Southwest.... See full summary »
Kowalski works for a car delivery service. He takes delivery of a 1970 Dodge Challenger to take from Colorado to San Francisco, California. Shortly after pickup, he takes a bet to get the car there in less than 15 hours. After a few run-ins with motorcycle cops and highway patrol they start a chase to bring him into custody. Along the way, Kowalski is guided by Supersoul - a blind DJ with a police radio scanner. Throw in lots of chase scenes, gay hitchhikers, a naked woman riding a motorbike, lots of Mopar and you've got a great cult hit from the early 70's. Written by
The color white was chosen for the car simply so the car would stand out against the background scenery in the movie. White was not symbolic in any way. The director says this in the DVD commentary. See more »
Motorcycle chase by the Colorado River: Second motorcycle cop crashes through a wooden barrier while chasing Kowalski. The barrier has three yellow and black striped horizontal boards; the cop clearly breaks all three boards in the crash, but when the shot returns to the cop sitting in the dirt, the top board is intact. See more »
[after listening to Super Soul's broadcast]
Did you hear that?
Where the hell he get so much information?
Same place as you do, Charley.
You mean from our own frequency?
How long's he been at it?
Year 'n a half, maybe two.
Hell, that's against the law!
So's carryin' a transistor on duty.
[...] See more »
The Fox logo is shown without the fanfare making it one of the first times this has happened. See more »
Richard Sarafian's 1971 film "Vanishing Point" is, for starters, a fascinating study of those persons anthropologists sometimes term "marginal men"--individuals caught between two powerful and competing cultures, sharing some important aspects of both but not a true part of either, and, as such, remain tragically confined to an often-painful existential loneliness. Inhabiting a sort of twilight zone between "here" and "there," a sort of peculiar purgatory, these restless specters cannot find any peace or place, so they instead instinctively press madly on to some obscure and unknown destination, the relentless journey itself being the only reason and justification.
Disc jockey Super Soul (Cleavon Little) and delivery driver Kowalski (Barry Newman) are two of these specters, marginal but decent, intelligent men who can't or won't live in burgeoning competing cultures which in reality have offered them very little of worth or substance, despite their own personal sacrifices. Kowalski himself had tried to "fit in" with the Establishment as a soldier and police officer and later, attempted to do the same with the blossoming 1960s counterculture, but soon disappointingly found that they both were ridden with their own various forms of dishonesty and insincerity. Personal honor, self-reliance and genuine respect--Kowalski's stock in trade--were tragically valued very little by either, despite each one's shrill and haughty claims to the contrary.
Moreover, it's no accident Newman's character has a Polish surname; the Poles throughout their history have created a very rich and unique Slavic culture largely based upon just such a "marginality"--being geographically jammed between powerful historic enemies, Germany and Russia, and never being able to fully identify with either one, at often great cost to themselves. It's also no accident Little's character is blind and black, the only one of his kind in a small, all-Caucasian western desert town--his sightlessness enhancing his persuasiveness and his ability to read Kowalski's mind, the radio microphone his voice, his race being the focus of long simmering and later suddenly explosive disdain--all of the characteristics of a far-seeing prophet unjustly (but typically) dishonored in his own land.
The desert environment also plays a key role in cementing the personal relationship between and respective fates of these two men--to paraphrase British novelist J.G. Ballard, prophets throughout our history have emerged from deserts of some sort since deserts have, in a sense, exhausted their own futures (like Kowalski himself had already done) and thus are free of the concepts of time and existence as we have conventionally known them (as Super Soul instinctively knew, thus creating his own psychic link to the doomed driver.) Everything is somehow possible, and yet, somehow nothing is.
Finally, VP is also a "fin de siecle" story, a unique requiem for a quickly dying age- a now all-but-disappeared one of truly open roads, endless speed for the joy of speed's sake, of big, solid no-nonsense muscle cars, of taking radical chances, of living on the edge in a colorful world of endless possibility, seasoned with a large number and wide variety of all sorts of unusual characters, all of which had long made the USA a wonderful place--and sadly is no longer, having been supplanted by today's swarms of sadistic, military-weaponed cop-thugs, obsessive and intrusive safety freaks, soulless toll plazas, smug yuppie SUV drivers, tedious carbon-copy latte towns, and a childish craving for perfect, high-fuel-efficiency safety and security.
The just-issued DVD contains both the US and UK releases of the film; the UK release, I believe, is a much more satisfying film, as it has the original scenes deleted from the US version. As an aside, Super Soul's radio station call letters, KOW, are in fact the ones for a country & western station in San Diego.
210 of 239 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?