Point Blank is a violent, dynamic, thinly-scripted film. Lee Marvin stars as a double-crossed thief seeking vengeance, only to find he has again been used. Britisher John Boorman’s first Hollywood pic is a textbook in brutality and a superior exercise in cinematic virtuosity.
Richard Stark’s novel The Hunter is the basis for the screenplay, in which first five minutes recap Marvin’s betrayal by best pal John Vernon and wife (Sharon Acker). The space-time jumps are lucid, effective, inventive, fluid – and repetitive. A hurry-and-wait sensation grows on a viewer as, once transposed from one scene to another, a dramatic torpor ensues at times, except for the hypo of choreographed brutality.
The futility of revenge is exemplified by the cyclic pattern of Marvin’s movements, and Boorman’s frequent cuts to the past overmake the point.