Review: Vanishing Point
Blu-ray & DVD: Vanishing Point (1971)
Kowalski (Barry Newman) works as a car delivery man, and when he is given a 1970 Dodge Challenger to take from Colorado to San Francisco, he ups the ante by making a bet that he can do the run in 15 hours.
His speed limit breaking efforts to do so in time attract the attention of local law authorities, who pursue him in a succession of buttock tightening car chases.
While all this is happening, radio DJ ‘Super Soul’ (Cleavon Little) rallies behind him and garners public support for this “modern day outlaw”.
With high speed chases, spectacular car stunts, naked motorcycling, homosexual hitchhikers, racist cops and a foot tapping soundtrack that will have you moving around like DJ Super Soul, Vanishing Point is one hell of a ride from the start to its unexpected ending.
Though Kowalski is behind the wheel for most of the movie, his character is fleshed out with flashbacks as he is driving, and it is through these that we see his near death experiences as both a racing car driver and on a motorcycle racing track. His personal life is also shown through an incident he had while being a police officer, and a scene on a beach suddenly takes on a greater significance come the final frames of the movie.
For a movie that is essentially one long car chase, Vanishing Point is riveting viewing, complete with an array of characters that all contribute to the high speed narrative.
The 2 disc special edition Blu-ray is definitely a ‘must buy’. Complete with both the American and UK versions of the movie, a ‘Super Soul me bonus view mode’ (where various artists appear picture in picture to discuss the multitude of great songs in the movie and their personal thoughts on it) and a fascinating commentary by director Richard C. Sarafian which adds a new twist to how you may read the movie.
Add to the above various featurettes about about the the car, stunts, etc and you have a package that should be snapped up immediately.
A classic 1970’s car movie, that gives you far more than burning rubber.
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