Film: Double Bill - Andy Wilson, Director of the forthcoming `Playing God', on his ideal cinematic pairing

POINT BLANK DIR. JOHN BOORMAN (1967) PERFORMANCE DIR. NIC ROEG (1970)
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The Independent Culture
POINT BLANK is an LA gangster film set at around the same time Performance was made in Britain, but the portraits of gang life are entirely different. Performance is a psychedelic-induced gangster film, as opposed to the amphetamine-induced Point Blank. They show the contrast between America and Britain in the late Sixties.

Lee Marvin's character in Point Blank is on a quest for revenge against a corporate Mafia. It's shrouded in mystery. Everyone talks in riddles, only ever referring to the Mafia as "the company".

This was a simple pulp fiction gangster story which Boorman turned into something much more interesting. It's about an America where the CIA were shrouded in mystery and it was up to "the lone hunter" to seek out truth and retribution in a violent and unruly manner. I like its idea that everyone in America has a secret - what we see is a corporate ethos not unlike that of Microsoft's in the US today. Point Bank was a hugely influential film. After it, there was a turnaround in gangster films. It was no longer cop vs gangster, but gang vs gang (something we see in present-day Tarantino). There are no heroes; the Lee Marvin character is pretty unpleasant and everyone else is horrible. The style is very graphic, like a Roy Lichtenstein painting. The language is clipped, with soundbites and aphorisms; Marvin only really says, "I want my money".

Performance is a London gangster film I first saw in a porn cinema, because it had only been given a club certificate. It was supposed to be subversive. And indeed it was. What I liked about Performance is summed up by a line of Mick Jagger's - he says the performance everyone appreciates is one that approaches madness. I think the whole film targets that peculiarly English madness. I really enjoy the London feel, and how it feels as important a film as all the big American films of the time.

To see these two gangster films together would be three hours of absolutely stunning and very unusual entertainment.

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