Richard Sarafian's cult classic Vanishing Point (1972) was one of a glut of post-Vietnam films attacking traditional American values and moral authority. Though much of its content descends into seventies cliché (naked chicks on motorbikes, the usual drug references, etc), Vanishing Point is nonetheless an exhilarating and hugely enjoyable experience.
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It tells the story of a delivery driver named Kowalski, played by Barry Newman, who makes a bet with his drug dealer that he can drive from Denver to San Francisco in less than 15 hours in a supercharged Dodge Challenger.
Kowalski, a Vietnam vet and former racing driver whose first name is never revealed, soon attracts the attention of the police and a number of memorable chase sequences ensue. A series of flashbacks sheds some light on
his motives, and the anti-hero wins the support of the public as he speeds headlong towards his inevitable destruction.
Kowalski is guided in his journey by a blind, black radio D.J. named Super Soul, played by Cleavon J. Little in a memorable debut performance. A strange, almost psychic bond develops between the two lead characters as the story progresses, though they never share a scene or exchange even a single word of dialogue. Little's performance as the effusive Super Soul provides the perfect counterpoint to Newman's softly-spoken anti-hero.
Vanishing Point has attained a modest cult following over the years. The 1970 Dodge Challenger in Natural Born Killers is a homage to Richard Sarafian's movie, as is Primal Scream's Vanishing Point album. Highly recommended for anyone fed up with today's feeble, computer-generated chase sequences. Oh, and don't confuse it with the execrable remake of the same name.
The review of this Movie prepared by Richie Fennessy