Joe McGovern
July 05, 2005 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Point Blank

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
performer
Angie Dickinson, Lee Marvin, Carroll O'Connor, Keenan Wynn
director
John Boorman
author
John Boorman, Alexander Jacobs, David Newhouse, Rafe Newhouse
genre
Drama

We gave it an A

Shot full of bullets and left for dead before the opening credits, ghostly thug Walker (Lee Marvin, armed with a scowl that could overturn dump trucks) is bent on settling the score in this tightly coiled noir. Director John Boorman applies daring avant-garde sensibilities to the gangster genre, splintering the narrative with time lapses, flashbacks, and surreal dream motifs. Watch closely to see that Walker never actually kills anybody — fodder for the implication that he is not real but rather an exterminating spectre shoving his foes toward self-destruction. EXTRAS The vintage trailer and featurettes show the strained effort to sell this art pic as commercial fare. Paired with self-professed Point Blank kleptomaniac Steven Soderbergh for an anecdote-rich commentary, Boorman reveals how friction with studio execs (”They sent for a psychiatrist when they saw these rushes”) was neutralized by Marvin’s unquestioning loyalty. He also makes a gentlemanly crack at Mel Gibson’s rancid 1999 retread, Payback, and notes the movie’s vast influence on other directors: ”This was a scene, incidentally, which has often been copied,” he understates, to which Soderbergh replies, ”Um, I’m one of the people who copied it.”

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