While we're thanking people, let's nod to Ed Brubaker for the neo-noir round-up in the latest issue of Criminal. (Come to think of it, Matt Fraction had a piece of that, too.) I hadn't realized this was out on DVD until I read his glowing review:
Two years ago, a couple of films sent me on a neo-noir kick. I wanted to see all the antecedents for The Limey and several of the movies excerpted in Los Angeles Plays Itself. The gaping absence in my viewing was Point Blank, not yet out on DVD--I must have missed it by a couple months. Brubaker and company have finally shown me the light. The DVD is worth a rental just for the commentary track, which has director John Boorman talking with Steven Soderbergh, who cheerfully admits he's been ripping off Point Blank for most of his career.
Ideally I should have watched this two years ago, right between Charley Varrick and Vanishing Point (not a neo-noir, but still the most seventies movie ever made). I may not have quite the same craving for stories of taciturn loners out for revenge anymore (Terence Stamp is still my favorite, by the way), but at least half of my interest in Point Blank was for its use of architecture and that still holds up. Boorman puts the hideous late-modernist design of Los Angeles to great use, creating a spatial atmosphere as relentlessly inhuman as his characters. The interiors are no less repellent, an overdecorated world of mirrored walls and wet bars; Point Blank comes from a 1967 where there's no Vietnam, no Sergeant Pepper's, and San Francisco has an Alcatraz but no Haight-Ashbury. It's what the whole hep world would be doing on Saturday night if Elvis had won the war: Graceland uber alles. Point Blank is the dying fantasy of a decadent postwar culture--dead, but it doesn't know it yet.
So thank you, Ed Brubaker. This concludes our latest installment of Things I Should Have Read or Seen a Long Fucking Time Ago Theatre.