Directed by Richard C Sarafian
Running time: 98 minutes
Kowalski (Barry Newman) is a car delivery driver who makes a bet that he can get a white 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T 440 Magnum from Denver to San Francisco in less than 15 hours. (Yes, of course I had to look up what kind of car it was. I’m a girl.)
This is one manly, groovy, cool, super fly 70s movie. It’s Easy Rider meets Smokey And The Bandit. It’s a total GUY movie. But I liked it because I’m a sucker for 70s films. They’re effing cool & we don’t get anything with that same sort of look & feel these days.
This was 1971 so it has that late 60s vibe as well (another era that’s way cooler than our current one, which is uncool & sucks). I was reading about this movie on Wikipedia to refresh my memory as I watched it over the summer & it says “The film is notable for its scenic film locations across the American Southwest and its social commentary on the post-Woodstock mood in the United States.” Had to use that quote as it really does sum up the feel of the movie. I’d love to have lived during that time. And everyone & everything was so ugly! I love that.
I’ll keep this short: If you’re old like me and if you love 70s movies (and especially if you’re a dude & you like cars), you’ll definitely like this movie so go & watch it right now. It’s very “American” and captures a time & place that’s really like no other.
The acting is dodgy (especially from Kowalski’s girlfriend), Kowalski’s backstory is actually very interesting but poorly explained in that 70s movie type of storytelling way (I filled in the blanks reading about it online afterwards), and it’s also very slow paced (again, in that total 70s way) considering that it’s about a guy driving really fast.
But it’s cool. There’s a super cool blind DJ named Super Soul (Cleavon Little – in the pic above) who hears about Kowalski’s mission & the cops who are on his tail so uses his radio broadcast to help him evade the police. There’s also a guy in the desert collecting snakes for his religious cult, two “just married” male hitchhikers who try to rob Kowalski, plus a biker who tries to help by giving him pills to keep him awake. Oh – And, of course, the biker’s girlfriend who rides around on a motorcycle fully nude. As you do. Then we get a “WTF?” ending they’d totally change if (when?) some unoriginal Hollywood idiots decide to remake this. (Oh shit – in just now looking for pictures to use in this review, I see this WAS remade in 1997. Except Viggo Mortensen’s Kowalski is trying to get home to his wife who has gone into labor. Puh-LEASE! Argh! I hate Hollywood!!!!)
Vanishing Point is Seventies Goodness.
My Rating: 7/10