Thursday, November 15, 2007

Vanishing Point d. Richard C. Sarafian, 1971

The flashbacks - especially the romantic angle - weigh down the film with unnecessary explication. I would have much rather Kowalski stay a sort of enigmatic figure who mysteriously becomes a magnet that unites all aspects of the counter-culture. Road movies are inherently counter-cultural and always freighted with meaning; any attempt to overload them with meaning turns to excess and waste. The driving and chasing and everything pertaining to the road, however - including the blind DJ who speaks to Kowalski - is fantastic. The end makes perfect sense: with all of that meaning and importance to be the final anti-heroic figure of the sixties, how could Kowalski do anything but explode in a ball of flame? He was being set up as a martyr from word go; there's no other way one actual man - as the flashbacks prove - could stand up to that type of scrutiny.

Quick question: what's with the black car that repeatedly shows up in the same place as Kowalski's challenger? Gosh, I hope it's not some type of symbolizer for the DJ or a metaphor for race relations.


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