Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Vanishing Point

As Vanishing Point drew to a close the first thought that struck me is that this movie is Easy Rider with a car. The story of an ex-cop/pro-driver who for no reason is in process of a car delivery and decides to piss off the law and run the police all over the desert, uniting the outcasts of society on his way – it’s counter-culture a few years post it’s death, a death that was shown in Easy Rider.

The character that makes the whole movie work is Super Soul. He’s a DJ out at a desert radio station, and he becomes the unofficial narrator of the piece. He discovers Kowalski’s flight from the police via an illegal scanner and begins to broadcast Kowalski’s progress to all his listeners. Super Soul turns Kowalski into the last heroic soul there is, escaping the law, searching for the last vestiges of freedom in the west and gets the remaining dregs of counter-culture, hidden throughout the desert on Kowalski’s side.

If you’re looking for a deep plot, layers of metaphor and a full-fledged character arch Vanishing Point is probably not the film for you. Easy Rider does a lot more of that than this film. However, Vanishing Point does have its place among films from that influential decade of the 1970’s. This is one of the first macho car films. This is a loving whisper to the faded adventure of the golden west.

What Vanishing Point did for me more than anything is make me want a Dodge Challenger. This car is put through hell and back in Vanishing Point and I swear, by the end of the film the car achieves sex symbol status. Anything that can take a beating like that and keep on ticking is worth driving.

Director: Richard C. Sarafian
Writer: Guillermo Cabrea Infante
Kowalski: Barry Newman
Super Soul: Cleavon Little

Super Soul: And there goes the Challenger, being chased by the blue, blue meanies on wheels. The vicious traffic squad cars are after our lone driver, the last American hero, the electric centaur, the, the demi-god, the super driver of the golden west! Two nasty Nazi cars are close behind the beautiful lone driver. The police numbers are gettin' closer, closer, closer to our soul hero, in his soul mobile, yeah baby! They about to strike. They gonna get him. Smash him. Rape... the last beautiful free soul on this planet.

1 comment:

Carson Wininger said...

The Challenger will forever be a Hall-of-Famer in the macho cars criteria, even after manufacturing is long done and the company has moved on. The movie proved that cool cars don't have to be fictional.

Carson Wininger