Previously at the ICA - Films

John Boorman, Point Blank, 1967

Point Blank

19 May 2013

One of the definitive films to emerge from Hollywood in the late '60s, this hard-nosed adaptation from Richard Stark's The Hunter owed much to the European influences that Boorman brought with him from England.

People have noted the influence of Resnais behind the film's time lapses and possible dream setting, but Godard's Alphaville offers a more rewarding comparison. Both films use the gangster/thriller framework to explore the increasing depersonalisation of living in a mechanised urban world. Just as Constantine's Lemmy Caution was a figure from the past stranded in a futuristic setting, so Marvin's bullet-headed gangster is an anachronism from the '50s transported to San Francisco and LA of the '60s, a world of concrete slabs and menacing vertical lines.

Double-crossed and left to die, Marvin comes back from the dead to claim his share of the money from the organisation, only to become increasingly puzzled and frustrated when he finds there is no money, because the organisation is the world of big business run by respectable men with wallets full of credit cards.

Point Blank, dir. John Boorman, USA 1967, 92 mins, cert. 15

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