John Boorman’s revenge drama starring Lee Marvin and Angie Dickinson is released on Blu-Ray as part of the HMV Premium Collection, offering a reminder of why this has influenced some great filmmakers since its release in 1967.
When a heist goes wrong and Walker (Lee Marvin) is double crossed and left for dead, his quest for revenge on the man who took his money and his wife leads him towards a level of corporate crime he hadn’t bargained for. But all along, his sole mission is to get his money, and nothing and nobody will stop him.
It’s easy to see why Point Blank is so highly revered amongst filmmakers. As directed by John Boorman, who would create his masterpiece 5 years later with Deliverance, this revenge thriller is far from conventional. Its sense of haunted alienation - of characters, situations, locations, even plot - give this sun soaked, LA set, Technicolor piece a nightmarish noir feel. Boorman overlays sound, uses colour to dictate mood, plays with flashback and memory, and gives his characters hardly any redeeming features at all.
And it’s brutal. It may be 50 years old but it still shocks. This is thanks in part to some fantastic, committed performances from Marvin and Dickinson, a woman who simply epitomises the era and feel of the film and who provides us with some sense of feeling. At the same time, never has Marvin been more stoic, impenetrable and, well, butch - the scene where Dickinson beats the hell out of him and he just stands there and takes it being a case in point.
It’s a fascinating scene in a film of many, and one which gets discussed in the commentary, which forms one of the disc’s extras. And it’s a good one too, taking the form of a chat between Boorman himself and Steven Soderbergh, a huge fan of the film, one that he openly claims to have ripped off throughout his career. It’s a fascinating chat but perhaps not a new one (they refer to the recent death of actor John Vernon and he died in 2005). There are some lovely stories about Lee Marvin and Angie Dickinson (they didn’t get on), as well as discussions about the use of different lenses, so it’s a film fan’s dream
Other extras include the obligatory trailer, a couple of old docs about Alcatraz, and a set of postcards, whilst the package includes a DVD and digital version of the film. It has to be said too that the Blu-Ray upgrade is pristine and crystal clear, making the film look astonishingly fresh.
POINT BLANK / CERT: 18 / DIRECTOR: JOHN BOORMAN / SCREENPLAY: ALEXANDER JACOBS, DAVID NEWHOUSE, RAFE NEWHOUSE / STARRING: LEE MARVIN, ANGIE DICKINSON, KEENAN WYNN / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW