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copyright ©1999-2000

flick pick | Grosse Pointe Blank 1997
Directed by:
George Armitage
John Cusack, Minnie Driver, Dan Aykroyd
Language: English
Look for it at the video store under:
Watch it when you’re in the mood for something:
action-packed, darkly-comic, lovey

Plot synopsis Martin Blank is a professional freelance hitman who’s been feeling, lately, that his career just isn’t personally fulfilling. See, he's developed this pesky problem of a conscience. On the recommendation of his shrink (who’s understandably skittish about maintaining a relationship with a patient who’s liable to take out his displeasure concerning bad advice by, oh, blowing his doctor's brains out!), Martin decides to head back to his hometown suburb of Grosse Pointe to attend his ten- year high school reunion.  It’s a chance, he hopes, at getting back together with the lost love of his life, Debi, whom he stood up at the prom a decade ago but still dreams about every night. And while he's in town, there's one last assignment that he may or may not do. A rival hitman, however, pissed off at Martin because he’s refused to join the assassins’ union, has decreed Martin a marked target. Suddenly Martin finds he’s got to juggle trying to win back Debi, dodging assassination attempts, and deciding what to do about the fact that he's really pretty unhappy with what he's been doing with his life.

Review Violence mixes perfectly with comedy, in a refreshingly non-Tarantinoesque manner, in this black comedy. It’s got a hilarious premise: hitman goes to his reunion and has to fend off the inevitable "so what have you been doing since high school?" questions from people who have been leading totally mundane (non-criminal) lives. The rest of the film fully delivers, with sharp dialogue, terrific acting, and a cranking 80s soundtrack (Violent Femmes, English Beat, the Specials, and more). What’s funniest is that basically, Martin's a pretty normal 28-year old, struggling with that horrible suspicion that he hasn't even come close to fulfilling his potential. The killing gig is just a job, not where his heart is, and reunions, as any of us who’ve attended/ avoided the dreaded events know, tend to incite those de-moralizing life evaluations that only serve to confirm how short we’ve come up in the success game. A gleefully wacked-out hybrid of action, comedy and romance, Grosse Pointe Blank perfectly showcases what it is that’s so fabulous about John Cusack: his unmatched brilliance at melding charm, humor, irony and human imperfection to create multi-dimensional characters that are lovable despite their deep flaws.  


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