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The Hunter

Point Blank Plot Details: This Review Reveals Minor Details About the Plot.

Plot Overview

Sometimes the glass is half full (“We made it”) and sometimes it's half empty (“We blew it.”) If the mob is into you for $150 grand, and the heist you pull to come up with it only nets you $93K, you might be tempted to eliminate your partner and consume his share. Walker (Lee Marvin) gets plugged at the scene, left for dead, but he wasn't finished. He's half delirious as he examines his sur­roun­dings (“Cell?”) trying to make out where he is (“Prison cell”) and what happened (“How did I get here?”)

The memory slowly returns: he was at a reunion when his friend Mal Reese (John Vernon) asked him to step out­side to talk (“I need your help.”) It was a simple plan:

We wait till they get it. Then we take them down. I owe a bundle. They're gonna kill me if I don't get it. It's simple. We just knock 'em on the head, and that's it.

The heist happens during a drop at deserted Alcatraz prison (3 yrs after its closure), but Mal shoots the runners, and then Walker when he needs his share, too. Walker is left numb and wondering, “Did it happen” or was it “a dream.”

On the tour boat out a mysterious benefactor propositions Walker saying, “You want Reese, and I want the organization.” He points him to Reese who used the money to position him­self with the organi­zation. From now on out it is a relent­less Walker hunting down Reese and any­one who'd sided with him or sheltered him (“You're a very bad man, Walker, a very destructive man!”), ostensibly to get his share of the loot (“I want my money”) but more credibly just to sort things out in his mind to alleviate his PTSD and fill in the blanks as he works his way up to the pooh-bah of the organization.


Through a flashback we see how Walker met his wife Lynne (Sharon Acker), checking each other out when they were half drunk. After Walker befriended Mal, it was “the three of us.” We see them cruising in a car, Lynne in the middle, wearing a wedding ring. “Suddenly,” she confesses, “I began to drift towards Mal and I just went with it.” Mal fell into the temp­tation mentioned in, (Sirach 9:9) “Sit not at all with another man's wife, nor sit down with her in thine arms, and spend not thy money with her at the wine; lest thine heart incline unto her, and so through thy desire thou fall into destruction.” During the heist she was on Mal's side while still wearing her wedding ring. When Walker looks her up after­wards, she's still wearing it as she comes clean: “I'm glad you're not dead. Just couldn't make it with you, Walker. With him, kinda fun. Just drifted into it. Found out too late it was you I really want.”

Lynne's sister (Walker's sister-in-law) Chris (Angie Dickinson) was partners at the Movie House with a man who died, then she became the owner (“I run the club now.”) Now that Lynne is dead, she reluctantly partners with Walker (“Are you asking me out?”) to bait Mal—who'd been lusting after her. It's reminiscent of ancient agricultural societies in which a man was pressured into marrying his dead brother's wife to preserve his name in the inherit­ance. Cine­matic­ally this is shown in their love-making scene where Walker is alternately seen with either sister.

Key to Walker sorting it all out is a flashback to Mal's original proposition (“Trust me”), which could be directly addressed with, (Prov. 1:10–19)

My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not. If they say, Come with us, let us lay wait for blood, let us lurk privily for the innocent without cause: Let us swallow them up alive as the grave; and whole, as those that go down into the pit: We shall find all precious substance, we shall fill our houses with spoil: Cast in thy lot among us; let us all have one purse: My son, walk not thou in the way with them; refrain thy foot from their path: For their feet run to evil, and make haste to shed blood. Surely in vain the net is spread in the sight of any bird. And they lay wait for their own blood; they lurk privily for their own lives. So are the ways of every one that is greedy of gain; which taketh away the life of the owners thereof.

“Surely in vain the net is spread in the sight of any bird,” true, and the organi­zation's net to catch Walker is in his plain view seen through a scope on an observation deck. “And they lay wait for their own blood,” seems to be the point of the movie as events are set in motion with Walker stalking Reese who “Wherever you go, trouble finds you out,” like the treacherous tide and currents off Alcatraz that did in any escapees.

The organization that set the whole set of events in motion is not spared, either, as events unfold, as in, (Job 18:1, 7–12) “Then answered Bildad the Shuhite, and said,

The steps of his strength shall be straitened, and his own counsel shall cast him down. For he is cast into a net by his own feet, and he walketh upon a snare. The gin shall take him by the heel, and the robber shall prevail against him. The snare is laid for him in the ground, and a trap for him in the way. Terrors shall make him afraid on every side, and shall drive him to his feet. His strength shall be hunger­bitten, and des­truc­tion shall be ready at his side.”

Production Values

“Point Blank” (1967) was directed by John Boorman. Its screenplay was written by Alexander Jacobs, David New­house, and Rafe New­house. The Walker character and dialogue came from Donald E. West­lake's 1962 novel, The Hunter, written under the pseudonym Richard Stark. Also based on The Hunter—in order of increasing thrills—are the movies: “Payback” (1999), “Payback: The Director's Cut” (2006), and “Full Contact” (1992). It stars Lee Marvin, Angie Dick­in­son, and Keenan Wynn. They all acted well, but it was Marvin's strong presence that carried it. He did all his own stunts making them so realistic it hurt.

It's an action-packed 92 minutes long. A worthy score was composed by Johnny Mandel. Alcatraz Island and Fort Point was a film noir delight. The women all dressed chic. The color scheme changes as the movie progresses. Color choice was used to modu­late the plot. Rhythmic foot­falls were used to effect a feeling of relent­less inevit­ability. Philip Wise­throp's wide­screen com­positions are photo­graphic­ally beautiful. This was a film noir genre filtered through French New Wave.

Review Conclusion w/ Consumer Recommendation

“Point Blank” being only 1½ hours long, the feeling of unease caused by its disjointed development is tolerable. A lot of the action happens below the surface, like a relent­less tide. “Point Blank” was not well received when it came out, but it has become a cult classic. As such it will appeal to people with artistic tastes who like a little action, too. I thought the actors gave good performances and the movie did its job. It is what it is.

Movie Ratings

Action factor: Edge of your seat action-packed.

Suitability For Children: Not Suitable for Children of Any Age.

Special effects: Well done special effects.

Video Occasion: Good for a Rainy Day.

Overall product rating: Four stars out of Five.

Suspense: Keeps you on the edge of your seat.

Works Cited

Scripture quoted from the King James Version. Pub. 1611, rev. 1769. Software.

Apocryphal scripture taken from The Septuagint with Apoc­rypha: Greek and English. U.S.A.: Hendrick­son Pub. Originally published by Samuel Bagster & Sons, Ltd., London, 1851. Print, WEB.