HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Sweat
Quiet Place Part II, A
Nobody
Prisoners of the Ghostland
Duel to the Death
Mandibles
Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands
Yakuza Princess
Djinn, The
New Order
Triggered
Claw
Original Cast Album: Company
Martyrs Lane
Paper Tigers, The
Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It, The
Hall
ParaPod: A Very British Ghost Hunt, The
Collini Case, The
Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard
Snake Girl and the Silver-Haired Witch, The
Superhost
Plan A
When I'm a Moth
Tigers Are Not Afraid
Misha and the Wolves
Yellow Cat
Shorta
Knocking
Bloodthirsty
When the Screaming Starts
Sweetie, You Won't Believe It
Lions Love
Demonic
Night Drive
Luca
Prospect
Toll, The
Last Bus, The
Purple Sea
   
 
Newest Articles
The Guns of Nutty Joan: Johnny Guitar on Blu-ray
Intercourse Between Two Worlds: Twin Peaks Fire Walk with Me/The Missing Pieces on Blu-ray
Enjoy the Silents: Early Universal Vol. 1 on Blu-ray
Masterful: The Servant on Blu-ray
70s Sitcom Dads: Bless This House and Father Dear Father on Blu-ray
Going Under: Deep Cover on Blu-ray
Child's Play: Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box Vol. 3 on DVD
Poetry and Motion: Great Noises That Fill the Air on DVD
Too Much to Bear: Prophecy on Blu-ray
Truth Kills: Blow Out on Blu-ray
A Monument to All the Bullshit in the World: 1970s Disaster Movies
Take Care with Peanuts: Interview with Melissa Menta (SVP of Marketing)
Silent is Golden: Futtocks End... and Other Short Stories on Blu-ray
Winner on Losers: West 11 on Blu-ray
Freewheelin' - Bob Dylan: Odds and Ends on Digital
Never Sleep: The Night of the Hunter on Blu-ray
Sherlock vs Ripper: Murder by Decree on Blu-ray
That Ol' Black Magic: Encounter of the Spooky Kind on Blu-ray
She's Evil! She's Brilliant! Basic Instinct on Blu-ray
Hong Kong Dreamin': World of Wong Kar Wai on Blu-ray
Buckle Your Swash: The Devil-Ship Pirates on Blu-ray
Way of the Exploding Fist: One Armed Boxer on Blu-ray
A Lot of Growing Up to Do: Fast Times at Ridgemont High on Blu-ray
Oh My Godard: Masculin Feminin on Blu-ray
Let Us Play: Play for Today Volume 2 on Blu-ray
   
 
  Vanishing Point Catch Me If You Can
Year: 1971
Director: Richard C. Sarafian
Stars: Barry Newman, Cleavon Little, Dean Jagger, Victoria Medlin, Paul Koslo, Robert Donner, Timothy Scott, Gilda Texter, Karl Swenson, Severn Darden
Genre: Action, ThrillerBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 2 votes)
Review: Kowalski (Barry Newman) makes his living driving cars for delivery across the U.S.A. One night, he makes a bet with his drug dealer friend that he can drive from Denver, Colorado to San Francisco in under twenty four hours, but along the way he attracts the unwelcome attention of the police. His hazardous driving makes him a wanted man, and soon he is being chased at high speeds along the desert highways all the while becoming a hero of the people who thought heroes were a thing of the past...

Yet another film from a big studio designed to appeal to any counterculture leanings in young people after Easy Rider was a hit, epic hippy hangover flick Vanishing Point was scripted by Guillermo Cain (a pseudonym for a Cuban film critic whose previous credit had been Brit cult flick Wonderwall). The film stakes out its territory early on, with a sequence showing Kowalski in his supercharged, white 1970 Dodge Challenger being forced to flee from a police roadblock and mysteriously disappearing - it's all vaguely meaningful and exciting to watch at the same time.

After this we go back to see the start of the chase, where Kowalski arrives to pick up a new car, despite having been awake for hours, and takes speed (appropriately) in preparation for his marathon drive. The car chase sequences, and John A. Alonzo's photography in general, are terrific, brimming with energy as stunt driver Carey Loftin takes the wheel of the Challenger as it charges across the roads, through the countryside and finally out into the desert as he tries to escape the cops, who all the while are being strewn like debris in Kowalski's wake.

Although the cops are depicted as dumb rednecks, not a sympathetic one amongst them, Kowalski does meet up with helpful souls on his journey. All the way, his exploits are commented on by DJ Super Soul (Cleavon Little) from a small radio station out in the middle of a isolated smalltown (the townsfolk look as if they'd rather hear Patsy Cline than the DJ's blues rock) - our hero builds a spiritual link with him that means they can hold a conversation as long as the radio is playing. Kowalski is aided by a rattlesnake collector (Dean Jagger) in Death Valley, and a biker as he nears the end of his adventure, and there are many eccentric characters he crosses paths with, like the foolhardy racer, the preacher at a revivalist meeting, or the two gay criminals (who push a broken down car with "Just Married" written on the back).

But what of Kowalski himself? What makes him so cool? Well, not too much, to be honest. Flashbacks to his past reveal him as a troubled soul, a Vietnam War veteran, an ex-cop who was repelled by the corruption, a banned racing driver, and a heartbroken man whose girlfriend has drowned in a surfing accident. All this seems too calculated in its attempt to appeal to the widest variety of viewers, be they square and disillusioned or hip and looking for a champion. Everyone he meets seems to see what they want in him, be that a friend on the road, someone to exploit, or an enemy to be conquered, lending the character his "between the lines" persona throughout.

As played by Newman, Kowalski has no personality that you'd notice, he's the strong silent type who is afforded the occasional flash of humour or compassion. In fact it's the car that's cool, that Dodge Challenger bulleting across the screen, performing amazing stunt moves, is the true hero of the piece. Kowalski is a man whose only meaning in life has become the chase, and when he has nowhere left to excape to, he reaches the conclusion he has nothing left to live for - and he won't give the cops the satisfaction of catching him. But what has he achieved? His final act looks like an futile gesture. Plus, he trashes the car. Remade for TV in 1997, and if you see the British edit, Charlotte Rampling shows up as a stoned hitcher in a late on scene that proves an eerie foreshadowing of Kowalski's ultimate fate. Rock band Primal Scream loved the movie, but didn't like the music (which includes Delaney and Bonnie in person), so wrote their own soundtrack with the concept album named after it, which is worth a listen.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 17358 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

Richard C. Sarafian  (1925 - 2013)

American director and actor who worked as a TV director until the late 60s, when he turned his hand to atmospheric films like the haunting British drama Run Wild, Run Free, the existential road movie Vanishing Point and the Burt Reynolds western The Man Who Loved Cat Dancing. Less successful were the Sean Connery vehicle The Next Man and Sunburn, with Farrah Fawcett. As an actor can be spotted more recently in films like Bulworth, Blue Streak and The Crossing Guard.

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
Andrew Pragasam
  Desbris M
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
  Sdfadf Rtfgsdf
   

 

Last Updated: