Point Blank (1967) Poster


User Reviews

Review this title
181 Reviews
Sort by:
Filter by Rating:
A genre movie unlike any other.
rmax3048235 June 2006
Warning: Spoilers
When I worked in a psychiatric hospital I noticed that one or two of the patients had a peculiar tendency to stand up, start walking purposefully across the ward, stop and look around, then begin walking just as purposefully in another direction, then sit down again. A kind of ambulatory non sequitur.

This whole movie is like that. I mean that to be a compliment. People break up the interactive script they've initiated and do something completely unpredictable. I'll just give one example. Walker (Marvin) and his companion (Angie Dickenson) have an argument and she begins whacking him across the head with her purse. At first he guards himself with his arms but then lowers them and stands silently and without any expression as she beats him, slaps him, and pounds his chest, finally slumping to the floor exhausted. At that, he strides wordlessly to the couch, plops down, turns on the TV and begins surfing the channels.

It's a neo-noir film if there ever was one. There is betrayal, a false woman, suicide, multiple double crosses, revenge, an urban setting, and an ambiguous ending.

So, although it is a genre film, it is nevertheless unique. Everything comes together. The production designer gives us sterile urban vistas, featuring bland cement boxes and the Los Angeles River, without which no noir would be complete. The apartments these people live in look like ordinary arid gray middle-class bourgeois digs. Wardrobe, too, has fitted these performers out in ordinary suits and ties, and the women are always rather chic looking.

The direction and editing are splendid. I'll give an example of what I mean here, too. Lee Marvin throws John Vernon out on the roof of his penthouse, wrapped only in a bed sheet. Vernon begins to tumble over the edge, Marvin grabs for him but winds up holding only the sheet while Vernon plunges some dozen floors to the street below. (His body winds up impossibly intact. A cat might have survived such a fall but a full-grown man would have splashed.) In an ordinary movie, we'd get a cut from the body hitting the street to Marvin staring down at it over the railing. But here, Marvin is still holding the sheet. Not only that but it's WINDY on the fourteenth floor roof and the wind is whipping the sheet up into billows around Marvin, like some demonic object with its own malevolent life force, before he is finally able to unwrap himself and fling it away.

The editing gives us a couple of brief flashbacks, but not just to evoke a mood. They are instrumental in letting us know what Marvin is thinking. Marvin is holding a gun to his ex-pal's, Vernon's, face and the poor guy faints until Marvin slaps him awake, and then he begs Marvin to trust him. A flashback lasting only a few seconds reminds us of an earlier scene in which Vernon begged Marvin's help in carrying out a heist and shouted at him, "Walker! Trust me!" The editing is so precise that in this -- and in a dozen other scenes -- a few seconds more or less would drain them of their impact.

The score is by Johnny Mandel, an arranger and composer whose work I've admired for years. He was a child prodigy, played both trumpet and trombone with Tommy Dorsey's band before turning to composing and arranging. He's never edgy or irritating. His music is smooth and melodic and sometimes strangely orchestrated. Here he suits his talents to the demands of the scene. When a man is trying to seduce a woman, a romantic piano melody tinkles behind them. At other times, again depending on the context, the score glides from Henry Mancini to Gil Evans. Nicely done.

So is the acting. Marvin has been this good in other films but never better. The plot has to do with his regaining $93,000 that "the organization" has cheated him out of. (There is no mafia-ness to the movie. The only foreign language we hear is Portugese.) And $93K was a lot of money then. You could find gas at 29 cents a gallon. Marvin more or less kills his way up the ladder searching for someone in a position to "pay me my money." He finally gets to Carrol O'Connor who explains to him that in a huge corporation like this, nobody ever handles any money. O'Connor has got maybe eleven dollars in his wallet. And Marvin, holding a gun on him, hesitates and looks genuinely put out -- puzzled, the way a child might be puzzled by a disappointing reply. ("No, there's no Santa Claus.") I think I'll leave it at that before I run out of space. I've pretty much skipped the plot but that must be adequately covered elsewhere. Besides, the plot is either extremely simple or very complicated indeed, depending on how far you want your conjectures to dig. (Is the whole movie nothing more than the fantasy of Marvin as he lies dying on Alcatraz after being shot at the beginning of the story? See what I mean?) Don't miss it.
98 out of 115 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Nobody punches a crotch like Marvin!
Wizard-822 July 2000
Still packs a whallop after all of these years, this was undoubtably a big influence on all the tough-loner-on-quest-for-revenge movies to come. What's really interesting is how Marvin's unemotional and seldom speaking character is quite fascinating. Instead of him being bland, we keep studying, somehow trying to find SOMETHING behind his cold stare.

Though tough, this movie is not without a sense of humor, though it's quite subtle, such as the test drive sequence. It's good stuff, though I did have one problem; the ending is quite confusing. I am sure other viewers will not quite be able to determine what's going on.
53 out of 63 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Stylish story of revenge
Leofwine_draca28 January 2014
POINT BLANK is an early outing for DELIVERANCE director John Boorman, who acquits himself ably with the hard-boiled crime format. Tough guy Lee Marvin stars in one of his most memorable roles as a small-time gangster who's double-crossed by his partner and his own wife!

The story sees Marvin going on a rampage of revenge as he tracks down various gangsters who owe him money, including a deliciously slimy John Vernon and other effective character actors. Angie Dickinson shows up as a femme fatale, while Boorman has style to spare, creating a gorgeous-looking movie full of sun-bleached city-scapes.

In fact, as a movie, POINT BLANK ticks many of the boxes in its journey to the twist ending. The action is sparse and well-handled; Marvin's tough beyond belief in the type of role that Charles Bronson would later make his own; the plot is lean and mean, and there are some wonderful set-pieces, like the bit in the drainage canal. Altogether a fine little movie and one of the most impressive of its decade.
9 out of 10 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Alienation at its best
JuguAbraham15 February 2001
I first saw this movie when I was in college in the Seventies. I viewed the film again in 2001. The power of the film was the same on my senses. Several reasons come up: British Director John Boorman was at his best trying to outdo Don Siegel's The Killers (1967)-which also stars Marvin and Dickinson in somewhat similar roles. I will really be surprised if Boorman denies that he was not influenced by the Siegel movie.

Why did Point Blank make an impact on me? Was it Lee Marvin's raw machismo? No. It was Boorman, who gave cinema a brilliant essay on alienation. When Dickinson's Chris asks Marvin's Walker 'What's my last name?' after a bout of sex and gets a repartee 'What's my first name?' you can argue the alienation is embedded in the dialog. But Boorman's cinema includes the loud footsteps of a determined Walker on the soundtrack, somewhat like Godard in Alpahaville, contrasting bright wide open spaces for the exchange of money that goes according to plan and closed dimly lit confines of Alcatraz for those that go wrong. There is laconic humor without laughter, pumping bullets into an empty bed, guards who narrowly miss Marvin going up the lift, the car salesman's interest in an attractive customer than in his job, the sharpshooter's smug satisfaction not realizing that he has got the wrong man…The list is endless.

The camera-work of Philip Lathrop is inventive, but was it Lathrop or Boorman that made the visual appeal of the Panavision format of this film come alive?

Viewing the film in 2001, several points emerge. $93,000 was important to Walker, nothing more nothing less. But was it money he was after or was it the value of an agreement among thieves? The open ended finale runs parallel to the end of an Arthur Penn film (also on alienation)called "Night Moves" made some 10 years later. What surprises me is how a good movie like Point Blank never won an award or even an Oscar nomination.
71 out of 90 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
"I want my $93,000!"
Camera-Obscura9 February 2007
Love it, great film.

For one thing, POINT BLANK, directed by British director John Boorman, has all the good looks of the various movements of the European New Wave, but walks the walk and talks the talk of an American thriller, and I mean that as a good thing. Boorman's brilliantly composed combination of European artfulness with film-noir elements make for an exceptionally rich and multi-layered crime thriller.

Lee Marvin, in typically emotionless fashion, is the remorseless Walker who, after pulling off a successful heist from the mob, is double-crossed, shot and left for dead in the now abandoned Alcatraz prison by his wife (Sharon Acker) and his partner-in-crime (John Vernon). Walker survives, escapes and moves to LA, where he kills his way up the ladder of a vaguely defined organized crime syndicate called "The Organization", hardly distinguishable from a legitimate cooperate business, in order to get his $93,000, occasionally aided by his sister, Chris (a great Angie Dickinson), who seems to know Walker's targets pretty well.

Philip Wisethrop's widescreen compositions are absolutely stunning. One of the most impressive scenes is when Walker is fighting two hoods in a nightclub, against a swirling psychedelic backdrop, to the strains of the R&B houseband, with its black singer hysterically shouting letting the mostly white clientèle shout with him in his microphone. But every scene is a marvel to watch, with every detail painstakingly composed without getting stiff or forced in any way. Even the car windows are almost unrealistically spotless, in order to film Walker through the glass with the reflections of the city on his face.

The film is packed with all kinds of surreal surroundings and lots of flashbacks concerning Walker's past. Boorman's games with narrative time, with extensive use of echoing flashbacks and jump-cuts, are the perfect reflection of Walker's dream-like struggle for justice, He's the typical tragic (noir)-hero, in a perpetual struggle to grasp what happened to him. He desperately tries to comprehend the situation he's in, but hasn't got a clue who's who and his outdated moral codes make him seem an even bigger anomaly in the modern corporate world he works his way into.

Whether this is all actually happening or it's all a mind-spin inside Walker's head is impossible to say. Best to enjoy the ride in this true genre classic, definitely one of the best American thrillers of the '60s. If you get the chance, watch it together with Melville's LE SAMOURAI (1967) and Seijun Suzuki's BRANDED TO KILL (1967), in many ways its French and Japanese counterparts.

Camera Obscura --- 9/10
51 out of 60 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Very good and tough in its time
darth_sidious6 August 2000
Tough and brutal, that best describes Boorman's excellent direction. Lee Marvin is perfect as a man who is out for revenge. The story is quite raw, it features flashbacks which haunt the character. The ending sums up the character, but you'll need to see it to find out for yourself. The supporting cast is very good, but this Marvin's baby and he is terrific.

Boorman makes full use of the widescreen frame. Watching in full frame ruins the entire picture. You have only truly seen Point Blank if you've viewed in widescreen.
53 out of 67 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Lee Marvin Steals the Show as Walker
eibon096 March 2000
Point Blank(1967) is a early feature by John Boorman who would go on to direct Deliverance(1972), Excalibur(1981), and The General(1998). It is an excellent noir about a man who's betrayed and left for dead who goes after the outfit that owes him money. Point Blank is a tightly constructed thriller with brillient montage and mise-en-scene. The film does a good job at showing the phychodelic colors of late 1960's San Fransico. Lee Marvin in this movie shows why he is one of the best Hollywood tough guys of all time. It is much better than the remake Payback(1999) because of Lee Marvin's presence and the masterful editing and camera work of the film.
37 out of 47 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Point Blank contains inspiring visuals, a haunting soundtrack and some stunning acting. Fabulous, groundbreaking cinema.
walshio15 December 1998
In the wake of his Cannes Best Director award for The General, Boorman's stunning debut has been released with a new print. Unrelentingly downbeat, this stylish crime thriller made in 1967 seems to have fuelled virtually Elmore Leonard novel.

Steely, panther-like hitman Walker (marvellous Marvin) has been fitted up, shot at and had $93,0000 stolen from him all because of ex-pal Mal Reese (John Vernon). A tad upset he decides to resurrects himself, with the help of the shadowy Yost (Keenan Wynn) for revenge and his payment.

Boorman greets us with a five-minute sequence that is crammed with curious camera angles, fractured time-lines and carefully constructed compositions. We're bombarded by a montage of piercingly violent images blended together with fragments of a failed heist on Alcatraz Island and a pair of slugs ripping into Walker's body. We're only privy to these flash snippets of information, but they're still enough to help us empathise with Marvin's masterly obsessive.

A year or two later Walker is on a tourist boat trip to Alcatraz, being propositioned by Yost. The creepy Yost knows where Mal and his Walker ex-wife Lynne (Sharon Acker) are and is willing to reveal this to him, just as long as he receives some information on a shadowy body called "The Organisation". Walker simply nods. His dialogue is minimal, his obsession is reflected through his curt questions, his sudden movements, his eyes and the flashbacks that haunt him.

When he catches up with his cheating ex-wife he allows her to talk uninterrupted in a desperate, forlorn monotone - "He's gone. Cold. Moved out," she says. Walker barely takes it in, all that motivates him is the thought, "Somebody's gotta to pay."

While others flounder, Marvin appears impenetrable like one of Sergio Leone's cowboys. Only Clint Eastwood never conveyed this much emotion in his movements.

Boorman's seminal film preceded the spate of fabulous paranoia flicks that enriched 70s American cinema – The Conversation, The Parallax View, All The President's Men – where a shadowy "Organisation" pulls the nation's strings. Tarantino has since appropriated this organisation theme on a small-time level, plagarising the black suits and the unwavering professionalism of the violence. De Niro's ex-con in Jackie Brown is based on Marvin's Walker, as are countless other performances.

Even Angie Dickinson, playing Lynne's sister Chris, leaves him cold. In a remarkable scene she resorts to repeatedly slamming Walker's immovable slab of a chest. He remains impregnable, emotionally void. She keeps on punching until she finally collapses on the floor in a heap. They finally make love, only for the isolation, the loss of identity, to continue. Is he an avenging angel? Is he there at all?

"Hey, what's my last name?" asks a post-coital Chris. "What's my first name?" he deadpans, answering a question with another question. Always seeking answers, never providing them. No love left in him, only a need for payment.

Point Blank contains inspiring visuals, a haunting soundtrack and some stunning acting. Fabulous, groundbreaking cinema. --Ben Walsh
111 out of 134 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Tense thriller revolves around a man double-crossed by his colleague and wife seeking only share the loot
ma-cortes30 November 2013
Interesting though strange picture plenty of flashbacks , slow-moving and a difficult pace . Being based on the book "Hunter" by Donald E. Westlake or Richard Stark and rightly adapted by Alexander Jacobs , David Newhouse and Rafe Newhouse . After being double-crossed by his partner (John Vernon) and left for dead by unfaithful wife , a mysterious man named Walker (Lee Marvin) single-mindedly tries to retrieve the rather inconsequential sum of money that was stolen from him and he seeks reckoning with a strange Organization (Lloyd Bochner, Carroll O'Connor) , a crime syndicate to which he belongs that takes on all comers . He is betrayed and becomes determined to exact vendetta on his betrayer , no matter how great the odds . There are two kinds of people in his up-tight world : his victims and his women. And sometimes you can't tell them apart .

Noir film dealing with a complex intrigue that contains action , thrills , suspense , violence and high body count : 8 . Violent story grows more exciting with each new plot twist . Main cast is frankly magnificent such as a sensational Lee Marvin , a gorgeous Angie Dickinson and the nasty John Vernon . Lee Marvin was Boorman's favorite actor , he told : ¨I learned more from Lee about filmmaking than from anyone , he has this incredible economy and brilliant camera technique ; most actors are completely spastic when it comes to moving properly, but Lee has the economy and quickness¨ . Excellent support cast such as Lloyd Bochner , Keenan Wynn , Michael Strong , James Sikking and special mention to Carroll O'Connor . Colorful as well as evocative cinematography by good director of photography Philip H. Lathrop , being filmed on location , as this was the first major picture to film on location at Alcatraz Island after the closure of the federal prison in 1963 . Imaginative and haunting score by Johnny Mandel . ¨Point Blank¨ and its taut remake Payback (1999) by Brian Helgeland with Mel Gibson,Gregg Henry , Deborah Kara Unger , David Paymer , Bill Duke are both based on the book "Hunter" by Richard Stark or Donald Westlake . The picture was ignored during its premiere but now regarded as one of the best films of the 60s .

The motion picture was well directed by John Boorman . He's a real professional filmmaking from the 6os , though sparsely scattered and giving various classics . John started as an assistant direction and his friendship with Lee Marvin allowed him to work in Hollywood as ¨Point Blank¨ (1967) and ¨Hell in the Pacific¨ (1968) from where he returned to the UK and directed ¨Leo¨ (1970) , a rare Sci-Fi titled ¨Zardoz¨ (1974) or the ¨failure Exorcist II¨ (1977). His films are without exception among the most exciting visually in the modern cinema . He became famous for Excalibur (1981), the best of them , ¨Emerald forest¨ (1985) with a ecologist denounce included and his autobiographic story ¨Hope and Glory¨ (1987) and which brought him another Academy Award Nomination after ¨Deliverance¨ . ¨Point blank¨ rating : Better than average . Wholesome watching .
9 out of 12 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Point Blank is one of the most influential films of the 1960's
kyle-garabadian12 June 2004
Point Blank is one of those lost gems from the 1960's. It got buried because it was released around the same time as Bonnie and Clyde. This film combines all the great elements of the American action film with flourishes of European art house cinema. John Boorman's direction is excellent, and not enough can be said about Lee Marvin's performance. This is without question one of Lee's best tough guy performances. I don't understand how the previous reviewer can say this film seems "dated" and "funny for all the wrong reasons". It is as fresh and interesting as it was back at the time of its release. Those looking for it on DVD may want to know that the widescreen format version appears on TCM occasionally. You may want to pop in a tape the next time it is on until the DVD finally comes out.
105 out of 130 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Double crossed
jotix1009 June 2011
Warning: Spoilers
The basis for this film is a novel by Donald Westlake, whose books under the pseudonym of Richard Stark featured a character named Parker, a mean guy, a sort of anti-hero, a ruthless man and a thief. He has the knack of evading his enemies in ways that will surprise readers, attracted to Donald Westlake's prose. Donald Westlake had the ability to write books under pseudonyms, as well as under his own name. It is a tribute to this writer that a lot of his novels were translated for the screen successfully. This film is based on "The Hunter".

John Boorman had worked on television as well as making documentaries. Lee Marvin, an actor who befriended Boorman, was instrumental in having this film made. The adaptation is credited to Alexander Jacobs, and Rafe and Dave Newhouse. Parker was changed into Walker for the film. The action is set in California where Alcatraz Island is prominently shown as well as other locations in the Los Angeles area. There is even a sequence that shows Walker in a concourse of LAX airport.

The casting of the film was a touch of genius, with Lee Marvin getting the best part. Keenan Wynn, Angie Dickinson, Michael Strong, Carroll O' Connor, John Vernon, and a stone faced James Sikking as the sniper do a great job for the director in creating the right atmosphere in which the style of Mr. Boorman shines as he moves the players to give their best in this thriller that has survived the passing of time.
3 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Seeing the pursuit of vengeance through a fevered mind--wonderful
ALauff15 February 2005
Warning: Spoilers
In the film's best and most famous scene, Lee Marvin's forsaken criminal trudges purposefully through a white-walled corridor, the echoes of his leaden footsteps filling the empty chamber like gunshots—CLOP! CLOP! CLOP! The caroming reverberations seem to lull him into reflection, and as the camera suddenly cuts away from his impassive face, the following quickly edited images evoke the disorienting sensation of flitting back and forth through his memory. Some of these images, like the eternally recurring shot of him lying supine on a cell floor in Alcatraz, we've seen before; others curiously herald events yet to happen. As the camera jumps between mind fragments, his footsteps plaintively persist on the soundtrack, like a metronome keeping track of the cumulative effects of Marvin's regret, rage and guilt. Although this sequence only lasts several minutes, it is significant in how it carves out a first-person psychological perspective from which the film rarely wavers and it is provocative for suggesting that Marvin might just be imagining his bad ass quest for redemption as he lies dying an undignified death in a dirty, abandoned prison; what we may be watching are the confused, dying thoughts of one who is simultaneously regretful (that he hadn't gotten out of the crime game sooner), heartbroken (that his best friend and wife betrayed him for $93,000) and determined to recapture what's his (the money, his honor, his anachronistic moral code).

The rest of the film is also deeply unconventional: As Marvin makes his way through the ghosts of his past—including a deeply lyrical reunion with his wife and a hauntingly narrated (by her in distant, foggy undertones) stream-of-memory précis of their relationship—and he delves deeper into his mission, the world makes less sense. He has to negotiate with a shadowy corporation called "The Organization" that purportedly has his money; several bizarre deaths later, he is no closer to recompense and cripplingly unable to reconcile his direct moral universe of duty and accountability with the seriously corrupt bureaucracy he must contend with. The conclusions the film makes are profoundly anti-institutional: his perception is clearly the least cynical of the dialectic, and by film's end his mission seems almost benign, his revenge less an act of violence than in claiming a rightful bit of solace in death that The Organization won't allow him. This is one of the most innovative films of the '60s—and clearly due to its overlapping, stream-of-consciousness narrative, one heavily inspired by the European vanguard—persuasively evincing a world where individual responsibility is dead (for once, a perspective on existentialism that sees the idea past simple notions of defeatist loneliness and despair) and the abstract, terrifyingly nondescript authority structure extends to God himself.
26 out of 35 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Good but very form over content
dbborroughs23 January 2010
Warning: Spoilers
The original screen version of the same novel that was made into Payback with Mel Gibson is a film that is all style over content. The plot has Lee Marvin as Walker a crook who's double crossed and left for dead. Unfortunately for the mob bosses who screwed him over he survives and goes back for his money and revenge and leaves a wide trail of dead in his wake. John Boorrman's artistry carries the day here since the story, as its on the screen makes little sense, it's simply Marvin exacting revenge. There are few details. However there is an artistry that keeps you coming back. I was watching this on Turner Classic Movies the other night and all I could think was how awful the tale was but at the same time I was enjoying it for the sheer artistry of the film-making. Worth taking a look at.
9 out of 13 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Shooting The Telephone
bkoganbing9 May 2007
Back in the theater where I first saw Point Blank, the film became known for down to this day as the film where Lee Marvin, shot the telephone. It was a very destructive thing to do, but as Carroll O'Connor says in the film, Marvin is a very destructive man.

Marvin's a professional hit man who took a large contract with a partner and friend John Vernon, however Vernon has some heavy debts and he steals Marvin's end of the fee. It amounts to $93,000.00, a really heavy sum back in 1967.

Marvin don't want to hear excuses he wants his money and goes up the organized crime chain of command to get it, aided and abetted by the mysterious Keenan Wynn who has his own agenda.

Angie Dickinson is on hand to lend Marvin some moral support and she's very helpful indeed in getting to the protected John Vernon.

The one thing I notice about Point Blank is that Marvin, professional hit man that he is and no doubt tough guy, does not really kill all that many people in the film. But the bodies do keep dropping all around him.

A lot of people seem to think Point Blank is some great piece of cinematic art. I don't think so, but it's still entertaining enough, especially for Lee Marvin's fans.
13 out of 23 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
"You're a very bad man, Walker, a very destructive man!"
classicsoncall22 March 2017
Warning: Spoilers
After reading some of the negative reviews on this board, I'm compelled to warn future viewers that it's not recommended for those with attention deficit. There's a myriad of flashback sequences, some only seconds long, that take gangster Walker (Lee Marvin) back to an event that turned him into a veritable revenge machine. All over a ninety three grand payday that he was screwed out of after a partner double crossed him. Too bad, the hierarchy of 'The Organization' is about to experience some forced retirements.

Walker doles out punishment in unique fashion and the film itself has some artistically rendered violence, but even for 1967, I didn't find it to be all that ground breaking as the host of Turner Classics found it to be. "Bonnie and Clyde" came out the same year and that one had it's own fair share of grisly rub outs. The idea here was that Marvin's character was a loner depending only on himself; the back story of Walker having a wife who committed suicide didn't even seem particularly necessary for taking on the mob.

Angie Dickinson has a pretty thankless role as the sister of Walker's dead wife. She has a great scene pounding away on Walker's chest following the flight lesson he gives to former partner Mal Reese (John Vernon), going at it until she dropped from tiring herself out. The scene highlighted Walker's stoic nature in accepting virtually anything that came his way with principled self assurance. The guy was like a great white shark waiting out his enemies and circling his victims until dead in his sights.

The picture's slickest move had the the unnamed sniper hired by The Organization (James Sikking) taking out one of his own bosses when Walker sniffed out a set-up. How he knew that is one of the mysteries of the story, but then again, he was quite the intelligent guy under that cold exterior. One word of warning though, don't go with him on a test drive.
4 out of 5 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Raw, Lyrical, and Bullets
A. Bates6 October 1998
Point Blank kind of came and went in theaters but I can't imagine anyone who saw it in 1967 left forgetting John Boorman's tough and beautiful film. A simple story told in a very stylish and, at times, surreal manner. Though the storyline is a variation on "revenge" themes, it is Boorman's images that open it up and find pay-dirt. Images of Lee Marvin emptying his pistol in slow motion, the sound of footsteps over a string of pictures that curdle the mind, and the seemingly limitless use of rawness perfectly realized in the action and performance by Marvin and,interestingly, Angie Dickinson. There is a wonderful conflict between the primal Marvin and the Corporate Crime world which he cannot understand. Marvin knows survival of the fittest- not the richest. It's hypnotic and aggressive. Boorman balances perfectly on the line between the two.
40 out of 51 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Overly praised film is actually a pretentious action flick...
Doylenf3 September 2007
LEE MARVIN wants revenge and his $93,000. That's the summation of the plot of POINT BLANK--there's really no more to the story. I see others here praising John Boorman's direction and reading much more into this simple minded action flick than there is.

The dialog borders on the absurd. The flashbacks into past events are piled on like a sledgehammer, hardly subtle in effect. The editing is rough, the music is loud and abysmal--and everything about the film has an ugly atmosphere.

Marvin plays an entirely unpredictable character who makes everyone else around him look like the definition of sanity. ANGIE DICKINSON is a slutty kind of female (apparently, she specialized in these kind of roles), decked out in fashionable '60s garb and big hairdo. She and Marvin have absolutely no chemistry and their big love scene is enough to make you cringe in embarrassment.

Why anyone ranks this among the best film noirs remains a mystery to me. It's no more than a cheap exploitation film of violence for the sake of gory action. The ending is open-ended, to say the least, leaving Marvin's motivation a puzzle that is never solved.

Have to agree with the original N.Y. Times review: it's extreme violence is disturbing and viewers should be forewarned.
19 out of 34 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
The Mechanical Man
dougdoepke19 May 2013
Warning: Spoilers
A comparison of this icy 90-minutes with 1970's Get Carter is an apt one. Both feature obsessive, revenge-seeking killers. Point Blank may be the most single-minded movie I've seen; it's also one of the most intriguing. Okay, so how does Walker (Marvin) recover from the slugs to the gut he gets at the beginning, and then swim away from Alcatraz Island. And if that's not enough, from there he goes on a relentless revenge binge on those who double- crossed him.

Seems to me like he doesn't really recover from the slugs; that's just too far-fetched given the circumstances. Instead the next 90-minutes amounts to a death dream, where he imagines what real revenge would be like before expiring—that's why he fades away from the money at movie's end. After all, this movie-making period is heavily influenced by Europeans like Resnais who like to play with time and space. So traditional viewers like myself may have to think in non-linear terms in coming to grips with this intriguing piece of film.

Anyhow, Marvin makes one heckuva wrecking crew, dishing out punishment to those who crossed him. He's relentless, never changing expression or registering emotion, even when coiled around the voluptuous Chris (Dickinson). And did LA ever look more grimly impersonal. I gather director Boorman went after that effect, and if so, he got it.

In my book, it's Marvin's best movie, deserving of some weird classic status.
4 out of 5 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
I had to watch this a couple of times to get it...
AlsExGal8 November 2016
... and maybe that's ultimately why it failed at the box office in 1967. People generally got only one shot at the apple as far as viewing went before years passed and it got on TV. Now that you have continuous access to a film, whether via streaming or DVD, you can do back to back viewings and catch everything.

1967 was a good year for Lee Marvin at MGM, where he made two movies for the studio that have ended up in the 1,001 Movies You Must See Before You Die book, this one and The Dirty Dozen. John Boorman does some stylistically interesting things, but it's a bit too much, the flourishes calling too much attention to themselves and distracting from the story. He had become much more masterful at letting the visuals contribute to the advance of the story by the time he made Deliverance and Excalibur, IMO. These flashbacks Marvin/Walker kept having to events that had previously occurred in the movie - and in a movie that clocks in at under 95 minutes, at that - just seemed like overkill to me.

I found the plot terribly confusing the first time around. The crooks were hiding out in Alcatraz, where regular tours are conducted? Heck, Marvin himself is shown on such a tour very early in the film. I had no concept of what Marvin's life was supposed to have been before the events of the movie. In the flashback where he met his wife, he appears to be a dockworker straight out of On the Waterfront. The bit where the future marrieds circle each other, locked in eye contact was kinda sexy, but the presence of all of Marvin's coworkers standing one inch away from them was weird. I also didn't understand the connection between Walker and Reese or what this incredibly crowded party was where they reunited or the other barroom scene where Reese knocks Walker to the floor and climbs on top of him to tell him how badly he needs money. These scenes didn't make sense to me at all, but they didn't ruin my overall enjoyment of the movie.

I liked Carol O'Connor as the Nicest Guy in the Mob. Keenan Wynn's character I didn't get. He somehow finds Walker when no one else knows he's alive and recruits him in pursuing mutual interests. I thought for the whole movie until the final scene that he was some kind of law enforcement - a Fed, maybe. The ending is also vague, I suppose deliberately so. Wynn tells the Hired Gun to leave the bag with the money, so I guess Walker gets the money? Though we don't see it explicitly.

Anyway, I just love the 60s look - the architecture, the cars, the hairstyles, the clothes. I loved the hamburger joint where Marvin and Dickinson ate with the giant windows. I loved her pad with the balcony that looked down on the living area. I loved O'Connor's sprawling retreat. I loved the technology! I guess mob millionaires had remote controls for their TVs in 1967 (Well, Jack Lemmon had one in The Apartment way back in 1960, and he was at best a middle-class schlub). Oh, yeah, I also dug O'Connor's primitive speaker phone, where he put the receiver in some kind of device so you suddenly had speaker phone.

The thing I missed the most? The screenplay, in its attempt to be ultra-cool, neglects to provide wronged gangster Lee Marvin with the one ingredient that is indispensable to the sort villainous hero he specialized in, namely humor. This is one of the few Lee Marvin films that contains not one memorable zinger, delivered in that patented, guttural drawl of his. It's worth a look, but I can see why 1967 audiences didn't take to it, with only one viewing to "get it".
4 out of 5 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
role made for the original 60s action man
compsecure23 April 2004
This was a movie made for Marvin. Whether by design or by accident it matters not, this was the perfect vehicle for probably the only authentic believable actor as well qualified to play this type of screen role. Marvin looked like your average definition of a gangster, thug,slick operator, tough guy call it what you will and had the physique, persona, acting skills etc to carry the role and excel in it. Marvin acted above himself in this movie as he did in The Killers several years prior & reunited with Dickinson in the process something that added a special thread throughout the movie.There was sadly not enough of these types of roles to enable Marvin to display his obvious talent in portraying these types of screen characters but there was just enough to wet our apetite for more. Point Blank was probably the pick of them before Marvins career sidetracked to other areas which to my mind while it may have added to his body of work did not amply display to us the full talents of this contemporary one off actor the like of which I sadly fear we will never be fortunate enough to see again. That being said the movie was also notable for many other brilliant performances principally Lloyd Bochner, Carol O,connor & John Vernon who also possessed some of the qualities attributed to Marvin although not on the same scale or intensity.All In all a movie worth watching for a number of reasons. Lee we miss you. Heaven must be a gass with you & cassavetes steve Mcqueen etc.
33 out of 44 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
You're a very bad man, Walker, a very destructive man!
hitchcockthelegend22 August 2015
Point Blank is directed by John Boorman and collectively adapted to screenplay by Alexander Jacobs, David Newhouse and Rafe Newhouse from the novel The Hunter written by Richard Stark. It stars Lee Marvin, Angie Dickinson, Keenan Wynn, Carroll O'Connor, Lloyd Bochner and Michael Strong. Music is by Johnny Mandel and the Panavision cinematography (in Metrocolor) is by Philip H. Lathrop.

Betrayed by wife and friend during a robbery, Walker (Marvin) is left dying on a stone cold cell floor at closed down Alcatraz...

Pure neo-noir, a film that could be argued was ahead of its time, given that it wouldn't find a fan base until many years later. Yet it deserves to be bracketed as a benchmark for the second phase of noir, a shining light of the neo world, experimenting with techniques whilst beating a true film noir heart.

The story is deliciously biting, pumped full of betrayals and double crosses, fatales and revenge, death and destruction. It even has a trick in the tale, ambiguity. It all plays out in a boldly coloured Los Angeles, the photography sparkles as Mandel lays an elegiacal and haunting musical score over the various stages of the drama. The talented Boorman has a field day with the elements of time, shunting various strands of the story around with sequences that at first glance seem out of place, but actually are perfect in context to what is narratively happening, the director gleefully toying with audience expectations. While suffice to say angles are tilted and close ups broadened to further style the pic.

Then there is Walker, a single minded phantom type character, played with grace and menace by Marvin - who better to trawl the Los Angeles underworld with than Marv? This guy only wants what he is owed from the robbery, nothing more, nothing less, but if the meagre reward is not forthcoming, people are going to pay with something more precious than cash. His mission is both heroic and tragic, with Boorman asking the viewers to improvise their thought process about what it all inevitably means. Funding the fuel around Marvin are good players providing slink, sleaze and suspicion.

Deliberate pacing isn't for everyone, neither is stylised violence and stylish directorial trickery, but for those who dine at said tables, Point Blank, and Walker the man, is for you. 9/10
8 out of 13 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Ugly And Repugnant
Lechuguilla25 November 2013
Gangster Walker (Lee Marvin) tries to get payback from other gangsters in this cinematic crime drama derived from an awful script. The first five minutes tries one's patience as the plot darts here and there with discordant flow and confusing plot points. It doesn't get any better later on. The script is a nightmare of too many flashbacks, among other problems.

Characters are totally not interesting. Walker is one angry dude as he shoots his way through a series of encounters trying to get revenge and money. Lee Marvin helps not at all. His tough guy image only exaggerates the raging Walker character. There's a glut of reptilian men in black suits; they belong to something called the "organization", the outfit that apparently betrayed Walker. Throw in a few cowering fems and the story's subtext just screams ... it's-a-man's-world, honey, and we're greedy, tough men.

Further, secondary characters are thrown into the mix seemingly in random order; again, there's a conspicuous absence of organic plot flow. In addition, the actual story is pretty thin, but padded with lots of filler, apparently to extend the runtime.

And then there's the excess ... excess violence just for the sake of violence, excessive loudness in Walker's footsteps as he marches through a corridor, angrily on his way to meet someone; after a few seconds these loud footsteps become almost torturous.

The entire film reeks of an ugly mix of repugnant characters interacting in unctuous, alienating ways. Maybe the film is trying to portray the urban alienation so characteristic of the 1960s. But the overall mood is so grating, the characters are so unappealing, and the plot structure is so messed up that the entire production comes across as incompetent.
27 out of 49 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Preferred Gibson's 'Payback' To This
ccthemovieman-15 May 2007
This was okay but not as good a '60s film noir (in story) as many critics would have you believe. Of course, that also is swayed sometimes by actors or actresses you like or dislike. I never liked Angie Dickinson, finding her to be too much of a low-life type of actress who played a lot of slutty roles. Of course, that kind of character fits into a noir story. So does Lee Marvin, whose tough-guy persona and deep voice lends itself to manly roles.

Actually, I preferred the re-make, "Payback," starring Mel Gibson, to this original version. That was far more entertaining and looked super on DVD.

This cast in this movie included "Archie Bunker," er, Carroll O'Connor. I like film noir from all eras and still consider it that even though purists think it has to always be a black-and-white film from the 1940s or 1950s. This is definitely film noir. Perhaps another look would change my mind as I have become a much bigger fan of the genre since I first looked at this movie and based this review on it. And, Marvin is usually worth the price of admission.
22 out of 50 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Gripping, stylishly cold and sometimes impenetrable...
moonspinner5511 November 2007
Alternately jagged and smooth, brutal and wry look at underworld corruption in Los Angeles--and the crook who got swindled out of his share of some robbery loot and wants nothing more than his $93,000 back. Lee Marvin is perfectly cast as the laconic, unraveling man extracting his revenge, and the swirling visuals of cinematographer Philip Lathrop's camera never lose a beat of Marvin's confusion and desperation. John Boorman directed, and his initial set-up of this story is a bit obtuse and impersonal, yet the puzzle pieces fit quite nicely after we've been accustomed to the approach (arty but dispassionate, loose though ultimately tightly-wound). Boorman isn't interested in pleasing the masses, and the film makes no overtures to high adventure, yet the overall ticking time-bomb effect (complimented by an occasional stark silence) really gets the viewer on edge. Fine supporting cast includes Angie Dickinson (who disappears and reappears at whim), Lloyd Bochner (whose oily smugness is used for some laughs), Carroll O'Connor (who puts an amazing spin on his dialogue), and John Vernon (who gets a terrific exit). Remade in 1999 as "Payback". *** from ****
5 out of 8 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
give him his money!
blanche-228 June 2015
Lee Marvin stars in this stylish neo-noir, Point Blank, with a European sensibility, directed by John Boorman. The film also stars Angie Dickinson, Keenan Wynn, John Vernon, Lloyd Bochner, Carroll O'Connor, and Sharon Acker. This movie and Payback are based on the same book, "Hunter."

Mal Reese (John Vernon) needs money to pay organized crime bosses and talks his friend Walker (Marvin) to help him steal it. However, the money, if split, isn't enough for him to make his payment. Reese steals it all and shoots Walker, believing that he killed him.

Walker isn't dead, and he wants his money. We don't know how much time has passed, but it seems like it's at least a couple of years. His wife (Acker) cheated on him with Mal after Walker was shot, so he visits her. But she and Mal are no longer together.

He visits Chris (Dickinson), his wife's sister, and then finally reaches Reese. Reese isn't the last stop on the food chain, though. In order to get his money, Walker has to go up the line of gangsters. He's good with a gun and plenty sick of waiting.

This is a film without a ton of dialogue and with a very internal performance by Lee Marvin. The editing is especially crisp - we get very tiny flashbacks, and in the end, we wonder if this was a dream he has while in prison or if it all really happened.

The casting is unusual as it is populated with people who worked primarily in television - Vernon and Bochner were practically mainstays on shows like Mission: Impossible, Sharon Acker was a TV actress, and Carroll O'Connor's great fame came in television.

There is a starkness about this film, in an urban setting of cement lacking in much personality. Through it all, there's Marvin, quietly racking up the body count. In Payback, Mel Gibson is much more overt, and the violence is stronger.

This isn't made like other films, and I have to think, even though it came out at the same time as Bonnie & Clyde, that it had some influence.
3 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
An error has occured. Please try again.

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews

Recently Viewed