Grosse Pointe Blank (1997) - Plot Summary Poster


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  • Martin Blank is a professional assassin. He is sent on a mission to a small Detroit suburb, Grosse Pointe, and, by coincidence, his ten-year high school reunion party is taking place there at the same time.

  • Martin Blank is a freelance hitman who starts to develop a conscience, which causes him to muff a couple of routine assignments. On the advice of his secretary and his psychiatrist, he attends his 10th year High School reunion in Grosse Pointe, Michigan (a Detroit suburb where he's also contracted to kill someone). Hot on his tail are a couple of over-enthusiastic federal agents, another assassin who wants to kill him, and Grocer, an assassin who wants him to join an "Assassin's Union."

  • Martin Blank is a contract hit man. After being in the business for five years, he is getting disillusioned with it, imposing himself on a therapist, Dr. Oatman, who is reluctant to help him through his issues because of his business. Part of his disillusionment is because of the changing nature of the business, as witnessed by one of his fellow hit men, Grocer, wanting to form a cartel of sorts despite the inherent non-trust with each of the other hit men. Because of one of his contracts not having gone down quite according to plan, Martin is forced to take a job in Detroit for the same client pro bono. Marcella, who handles the administrative aspects of Martin's business, encourages him to attend his ten year high school reunion in Grosse Pointe in suburban Detroit while he's there anyway. Martin left Grosse Pointe the day of the graduation prom never having returned. In the process, he stood up his prom date and serious girlfriend at the time, Debi Newberry. While in Detroit/Grosse Pointe, Martin wants to forget about his hit man life and focus most specifically with reconnecting with Debi, who now works as a local radio host. Making it up to Debi may not be as easy as Martin wants, despite both still being attracted to each other. But getting away from his hit man life may not be that easy either as Grocer has tipped off the NSA to Martin's job, the two agents, Steven Lardner and Kenneth McCullers, who plan to take him in when they catch him in the process of the hit, but who contemplate taking him out themselves. In addition, Martin learns the hard way that someone else has taken a contract out on him. Martin's life becomes even more complicated when he learns who his contracted hit is.

  • Martin Blank and is a hitman with some emotional problems. He goes to a shrink who doesn't want him, and has had recurring dreams about his long lost love for 10 years since he stood her up on Prom night. When Blank gets an invitation to his School reunion he is originally dead against the idea, but when he is hired for a job in his home town he is forced to return home, and to face some old truths.


The synopsis below may give away important plot points.


  • Professional assassin Martin Q. Blank (John Cusack) finds himself depressed and irritable, dissatisfied with his work and the increasing competition from rival assassins, including Grocer (Dan Aykroyd), whose efforts to form a small cartel within the business puts him at potentially lethal odds with the solitary Martin. Following a botched contract where Martin shoots the man instead of making it look like a natural death, he receives an invitation to his 10 year high school reunion in his home town of Grosse Pointe, Michigan. Initially reluctant to attend, he is pressured into it by both his (understandably nervous) therapist (Alan Arkin) and his secretary (Joan Cusack), already booking him for a contract to re-establish ties with a disgruntled client over the botched contract.

    Upon arriving in Grosse Pointe, Martin seeks out Debi Newberry (Minnie Driver), now a radio DJ, his old girlfriend and whom Martin had abandoned on prom night to enlist in the Army. While Debi's visit suggests hope for redemption, Martin's subsequent visit to his family only heightens his depression; his father is dead (Martin's tribute to his father is to empty an entire bottle of whiskey on his grave), his mother is an emotionally disturbed resident of a nursing home and his childhood home has been demolished and replaced with a convenience store. Reconnecting with friends like Paul (Jeremy Piven) is likewise depressing, as many have integrated themselves with the local community through mundane establishment jobs. When asked about his livelihood, Martin readily reveals that he is a professional killer, a response taken as a joke by everyone he meets. Meanwhile Martin is being stalked by rival hitmen, including Grocer and Felix LaPoubelle (Benny Urquidez), a Basque terrorist hired to kill him, as well as two awkward National Security Agency agents (Hank Azaria and K. Todd Freeman), briefed by Grocer, waiting for him to do his "job" so they can kill him as a terrorist. Despite these dangers, Martin remains distracted by his desire to make amends and procrastinates, not even bothering to glance at the background dossier on the prospective target.

    When Martin returns to the Ultimart, he is immediately attacked by LaPubelle and the two exchange gunfire, destroying the store. Martin and the clerk working there are nearly killed by a bomb planted by LaPubelle. Martin later meets with Grocer for breakfast at a small cafe. Martin reaffirms his refusal to join Grocer's assassins' union, much to Grocer's disappointment. Martin also visits Debi at her apartment attached to her father's house and is able to convince her to be his date for the reunion.

    At the reunion, Martin mingles with his former classmates, one of whom hands him her adorable toddler. Martin stares into the child's face and experiences an existential transformation, recognizing that his recent dissatisfaction with his work and his amends with Debi signify an opportunity to change his life. He and Debi fade from the party and go to the school's health office and have sex on one of the gurneys.

    Debi returns to the party while Martin checks out his old school locker. Suddenly, LaPubelle appears and the two engage in a furious hand-to-hand battle. Martin finally kills him in self-defense, using a pen he'd gotten from a fellow classmate. Debi stumbles upon the scene and, horrified to find that Martin was not joking after all, flees the reunion. Paul follows only moments later to find Martin, who corrals him into helping to dispose of LaPoubelle's body in the school furnace.

    Debi later confronts Martin in his hotel room, where he reveals that psychological testing in the Army revealed "a certain moral flexibility" that made him suitable for a CIA-sponsored "mechanical operations program." After leaving the CIA, he went into business for himself. His rationalizations for his work only horrify Debi even more; she rejects his attempts at reconciliation, and storms out. Martin, concluding that it is futile to attempt to change his life, fires his psychiatrist over the phone and finally opens the dossier containing the details of the contract that brought him to Grosse Pointe: he is startled to find that the target is Bart Newberry (Mitchell Ryan), Debi's father, who is scheduled to testify against Martin's client.

    Grocer decides to stop waiting for Martin to kill Bart and attempts the job himself, to impress Martin's client and boost his own business. Out of loyalty to Debi, and his "newfound respect for life", Martin abandons the contract and rescues Bart from certain death, speeding him to the Newberry house and holing up inside, narrowly ahead of Grocer and his team of mercenaries. During Grocer's raid on the house, Martin kills several of them, hiding Debi and her father in the bathroom. Martin finally reveals that he stood Debi up on prom night to enlist in the Army to channel his strong homicidal urges away from his family and friends. Martin gradually kills the remaining mercenaries, the NSA agents (with Grocer's gleeful help) and Grocer himself, moments before proposing marriage to Debi, to which her father enthusiastically offers his blessing. Debi, shell-shocked from the day's events, doesn't respond. Hours later she and Martin speed out of Grosse Pointe together.

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