Tony Mastroianni Review Collection

Scenic Side Best in "Point Blank"

Cleveland Press November 2, 1967

"Point Blank," is an unusual film, a violent melodrama in which the violence is almost choreographed, a movie in which over-all cinematic effects are more important than story elements.

It borrows the trick time cutting, the instant flashes of remembrance piled one on another, the offbeat techniques that have marked the more adventurous European movies.

It is derivative -- in technique -- of "Blowup," "Marienbad" and Bergmanesque moments. But these techniques have been used in the service of a fairly conventional drama of revenge, rather than as ends in themselves.

In the first few minutes of "Point Blank," the audience is told all that leads up to the story.

In the deserted prison of Alcatraz now used as a place to exchange goods and money by dishonest men Lee Marvin is double crossed by his partner in crime who shoots him, leaves him for dead and escapes with both Marvin's money and Marvin's wife.

From there on, the movie follows Marvin's dogged efforts to get back his money leaving a trail of dead and maimed along the way.

Marvin ostensibly wants nothing more than his $93,000 which gives this an almost grim humor.

Dealing with a crime syndicate known only as the Organization, his efforts to get his money resembles a little the frustrating efforts you or I might make in getting a refund out of a giant corporation. Though in this case rejection of the claim is lethal.

Party through the film techniques, partly through some of the characterizations themselves, much of this has a dream quality about it.

Marvin is rugged, has a minimum of dialog and is more a fixed element in a variable puzzle than he is a person. Sharon Acker is effective in the brief role of his ill-fated wife. Angie Dickinson is coolly beautiful as Marvin's confused but cooperative sister-in-law.

Though tightly edited to 92 minutes, the movie bogs down at a few points, finally seems to have nowhere to go. As with most movies today this one has some ultra brutal fight scenes and a couple of steamy romantic moments.