Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Grosse Point Blank (1997)

John Cusack Film Fest Movie #14

Synopsis: Contract killer with a heart of gold reconnects with long-lost love as he prepares to whack her dad.

Blurb From the VHS Jacket: “Here’s the killer comedy hit that’s loaded with outrageous fun! For Martin Blank (John Cusack – Con Air), a hit man stuck in a career rut, attending his 10-year high school reunion is about the last thing he’s in the mood for! But when the prospects of rekindling an old flame (Minnie Driver – Sleepers) and pulling off one final job convince him to go, things are looking up...that is, until Martin’s arch rival (Dan Aykroyd) shows up aiming to blow the competition away!”

What Did I Learn?: A TV set makes a pretty good weapon in close-quarters combat.

Really?: Grosse Point Blank is a strange, dark comedy that isn’t meant to be taken too seriously, but: 1) I had a great deal of trouble believing Martin’s old buddy Paul (Jeremy Piven) would assist him in carrying a corpse downstairs for incineration in the high school boiler instead of calling the cops. 2) I suspect that driving a BMW would be a career-limiting move for a real estate agent in the Detroit suburbs... 3) Funny how everyone – including old teachers - can identify Martin on first sight, ten years after graduation.

Rating: Grosse Point Blank is a funny and clever comedy with a kick-ass 1980s soundtrack. The film has many great moments (I loved Martin’s interaction with his intimidated psychiatrist, and the scene of him reducing his high school bully to tears), but my one complaint – and it’s a big one – is that I didn’t “buy” Cusack’s character. Martin Blank is supposed to be a “morally flexible” killer, and we see him murder people, yet he most often seems like a down-to-Earth, decent guy – far more so than his character in The Grifters, for instance. I realize Blank has to be likeable to the audience, but the character doesn't quite work: it’s a bit like imagining Michael J. Fox in the role of a street gang leader. 8/10 stars.

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