After the mental effort of watching the three Lord of the Rings movies, I opted to settle down on a Sunday afternoon with something pretty mindless: Vanishing Point.
This 1971 classic is all cal and culture. Our hero is the driver, Kowalski. He is a Vietnam vet, a former cop, a former race car driver, and former motorcycle racer. Everything he’s wanted to be and everything he’s wanted, he’s lost.
He’s left with delivering cars across America. Oh, and a pretty wicked amphetamine problem.
Kowalski had just delivered a car to Denver when he picks up a 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T for delivery back to SF. He should get some rest, but instead he takes off into the night to start the drive back.
And he drives like a bat out of hell. Police chase him, and the DJ talks about his adventure as Kowalksi heads to CA.
There are two reasons to watch this movie.
One is the debate over the ending. What’s it all mean? Does he die? What does the trip west mean, and how does that tie into the ending? The drugs, the hippies, the DJ and his message — it’s a lot of stuff. Sometimes I think this movie is entirely pointless, and the other times I see how profound it is, or can be.
The other reason is the car. Oh, baby. An alpine white 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T hardtop, four speed, with a big ‘ol V8 Hemi. And it’s awesome to watch. Great driving, great adventure.
If you see this, also see 2 Lane Blacktop.