Dave and Rachel's movie reviews.


Thursday, June 28, 2012

Grosse Pointe Blank

Year: 1997
Running time: 107 minutes
Certificate: 15
Language: English
Screenplay: Tom Jankiewicz, D. V. DeVincentis, Steve Pink, John Cusack
Director: George Armitage
Starring: John Cusack, Minnie Driver, Alan Arkin, Dan Ackroyd, Joan Cusack, Hank Azaria, K. Todd Freeman, Jeremy Piven, Mitch Ryan, Michael Cudlitz

Well read and deadly: the man has it all.
This story of a hit-man returning to his hometown for a high school reunion starring the ever great John Cusack is an absolute gem. Steeped in nostalgic 80s sensibility (which isn’t half as bad as it sounds), Martin Q. Blank (Cusack) is a hit-man who wants to retire, returning to his hometown to pull off one last job. His visit coincides with the ten year anniversary of his graduation. Cusack does a fine job capturing that strange nostalgic yet freaked out feeling that accompanies coming face to face with old school friends after a decade. When he meets up with old friend Paul Spericki (Jeremy Piven), the two of them seem to pick up almost like they saw each other yesterday, until Paul's sudden outburst: "Ten years!"

Blank begins to reconnect with his roots to the sound of The Clash, David Bowie & Queen, Violent Femmes and a bunch of others in a great soundtrack that actually manages to make the 80s sound like a good decade for music. Some moments are quite sombre, for example when he visits each of his parents – a mentally disabled mother in a home who doesn’t recognise her son, and a father buried in the ground at a quiet gravesite. Other parts are played for laughs, such as finding a convenience store has been built on the site of his childhood home and reacquainting himself with his high school sweetheart Debi (Minnie Driver), whom he left heartbroken on the night of the school prom. Dan Ackroyd is on scene stealing form as Mr. Grocer, a rival assassin who first wants to induct Blank into his union for hit-men and then just tries to kill him, but the show remains Cusack’s from beginning to end.

The hit-man and her.
The soul searching sparked by the wave of memories and nostalgia (and a surprisingly emotionally affecting scene involving a staring contest with a baby) causes Blank to re-evaluate his life and he decides to get back together with Debi, provided he can survive the rival assassins and corrupt government agents long enough to convince her to take him back.

Full of great music and dialogue, deliciously black comedy and terrific acting, as well as a healthy dollop of romance and the effortlessly cool Cusack, this is superb fun from start to finish.

Score: 8/10

Rob is in broad agreement, as is Caroline at Empire.