Boorman. Since I’m trying to watch 500+ movies a year (far cry from 2011-2016 when I was putting away 1000+) the lists here are in flux as I try to continue to educate myself with new films and revisiting old ones I’ve seen before. Case in point with a recent 2019 viewing of Point Blank (details below) –so although it doesn’t land on my most recent top 500 of all-time, it surely will when I update it. It’s an utterly brilliant film—staggeringly ambitious. It goes a long way to making Boorman’s case for being on this list but he’s no one-hit wonder, Deliverance makes for a hell of a 1-2 punch and that’s the case for Boorman. His weakness is that he never really hit the high of Point Blank again- which was his second film.

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a gorgeous shot that should be from Antonioni or Welles in The Trial and puts it in a revenge action film

Best film: Point Blank

  • Point Blank is magnificent– pulpy revenge subject matter meets high art direction like Breathless, Shoot the Piano Player, Bob le Flambeur– clearly influenced by the French new wave here (in terms of high art meets crime genre)—which was of course influenced by American film noir—the spectacular use of architecture though actually is closer to Resnais and Antonioni than Godard, Melville and Truffaut
  • David Thomson writes about Lee Marvin’s character being a ghost—I don’t see it—but there are a few scenes that support that—there’s the constant reference it to being a dream Lee Marvin is having. He’s shot, then gets up and he honestly doesn’t seem to be injured. His wife doesn’t talk directly to him – she’s almost like talking to herself with him there in the scene like Sixth Sense or something—even later Angie Dickinson’s character says “you died at Alcatraz alright”
  • It can also be viewed as a major film in the American New Wave or movement from 1967-1979 (though Boorman is British) coming out in the important year of 1967 with Bonnie and Clyde and The Graduate
  • Nick Schager Slant Magazine- “What makes Point Blank so extraordinary is Boorman’s virtuoso use of such unconventional avant-garde stylistics to saturate the proceedings with a classical noir mood of existential torpor and romanticized fatalism.” 
  • Background architecture as character— silent storytelling, non-linear narrative construction, the use of open space
  • Los Angeles very much a character in the film—Boorman insisted on location scouting himself
  • The entire heist is done in the opening cross-cut flashback—it’s a bit disorienting until you get on its wavelength
  • Walking the hallways of LAX—the use of color and lighting- -gob-smackingly beautiful. It influences Jackie Brown and Tarantino shot there as well. The scene is great not just because of the visuals but the audio— Boorman users the sound of Marvin walking and overlaps it non-diegetically onto the intercut scene and the following scene
Walking the hallways of LAX—the use of color and lighting- -gob-smackingly beautiful.
  • Great shot of the beauty parlor hall of mirrors—
  • A stunner of Marvin in the car—its honestly amazing that Boorman can get wall-art from a guy sitting in a car
  • The high-rise exteriors and interiors—fabulous – using structure to block the frame–
  • Angie Dickinson is in yellows—her sofa, cabinets, robes—drenches in it  
  • Yellow and red pillars in the parking structure
  • the L.A. Rain basin set piece viaduct sequence- I mean that’s used in Grease, Terminator 2, Drive
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the L.A. Rain basin set piece viaduct sequence
  • canted angles, very expressionist and flashback heavy—I see an influence here on You Were Never Really Here and Lynn Ramsay in general
  • avant-garde in it’s structural angles
  • A Masterpiece

total archiveable films: 5

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a painterly landscape shot using an array of natural colors in Excalibur

top 100 films:  0

top 500 films:   0

top 100 films of the decade: 1 (Deliverance)

most overrated: Nothing for Boorman in the overrated category. Point Blank is #476 on the TSPDT consensus list (and I’ve got it as underrated), Deliverance is about right at #546, and Excalibur feels close at TSPDT’s #973 film of all-time.

most underrated: Point Blank. I’ll have it higher than #476 when I update my top 500.

gem I want to spotlight :  Deliverance

  • Part B-movie horror/thriller nightmare, part meditation on masculinity—part end of the 1960’s and an end of innocence.
  • The dueling banjos and squealing like a pig scenes-  well-crafted and justifiably iconic cinematic passages
The dueling banjos and squealing like a pig scenes-  well-crafted and justifiably iconic cinematic passages
  • Vilmos Zsigmond as DP— very solid work
  • The performances-  Jon Voight’s internalizing and ruminating (he also proves pretty great range after doing Joe Buck in 1969’s Midnight Cowboy), Ned Beatty’s big city arrogance, Burt Reynolds does his career best work as a rugged survivalist
  • Great shot of the foliage on the windshield as Voight and Reynolds race in the truck
  • During the horrifying rape scene Boorman’s camera hangs behind the trees and branches
  • Strong imagery of the pale white hand rising out of the water
Strong imagery of the pale white hand rising out of the water
  • A magnificent narrative and acting propels this film
  • Highly Recommend –Must-See border

stylistic innovations/traits:

  • High art avant-garde visuals (Antonioni) meets B-movie revenge narrative in Point Blank
  • spectacular use of architecture in Point Blank  is closer to Resnais and Antonioni than Godard, Melville and Truffaut, Background architecture as character— silent storytelling, non-linear narrative construction, the use of open space– canted angles, very expressionist and flashback heavy—I see an influence here on You Were Never Really Here and Lynn Ramsay in general
spectacular use of architecture in Point Blank  is closer to Resnais and Antonioni
  • Point Blank is a big film to Jarmusch (the very underrated The Limits of Control), Tarantino (the blending of pulp material and high art)—and influences everything from Refn to the jellyfish sequence in Skyfall to Atomic Blonde – here
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influences everything from Refn to the jellyfish sequence in Skyfall to Atomic Blonde – here
  • Marvin beats the hell out of a guy in front of a neon light with the lights moving on Marvin’s face
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High art avant-garde visuals meets B-movie revenge narrative in Point Blank

top 10

  1. Point Blank
  2. Deliverance
  3. Excalibur
  4. Hope and Glory
  5. The General

By year and grades

1967- Point Blank MP
1972- Deliverance HR/MS
1981- Excalibur
1987- Hope and Glory
1998- The General R

*MP is Masterpiece- top 1-3 quality of the year film

MS is Must-see- top 5-6 quality of the year film

HR is Highly Recommend- top 10 quality of the year film

R is Recommend- outside the top 10 of the year quality film but still in the archives