Grosse Pointe Blank

Grosse Pointe Blank

D: George Armitage (1997); with John Cusack, Minnie Driver, Dan Akroyd, Alan Arkin, Joan Cusack, Jeremy Pivin. Martin Blank is a professional killer with no end of trouble. His last two jobs haven't gone according to Hoyle, his therapist doesn't want to see him any more, and worst of all, the fates and his assistant are conspiring to send him back to Detroit for his 10th high-school reunion. Complicating matters further are a fellow assassin who is trying to unionize the murder-for-hire business and wants Martin to cooperate, a pair of federal agents waiting to kill him when he completes his next hit, and the girlfriend he abandoned 10 years ago on prom night. Besides which, he doesn't think his fellow Grosse Pointe High School alums will be able to relate to a person who "killed the president of Paraguay with a fork." Grosse Pointe Blank unfolds in an entertaining if somewhat predictable manner, and Martin s ultimate attempt at redemption is far from bloodless, but that's to be expected given his choice of vocations.The performances in Grosse Pointe Blank are outstanding. Cusack, who also co-produced, underplays his role as Martin Blank just enough, relying on a good script and his own charismatic presence to carry the story forward. He gets great support from Arkin as his therapist, sister Cusack as his assistant, and Akroyd as a fellow killer-for-hire who believes in organized labor. The music is also worth mentioning and includes selections from the Clash, David Bowie and Queen, the Specials, Pete Townsend, and the Violent Femmes. A particularly clever use of music occurs when Martin visits the site of his former home (now a convenience store) with the Guns N' Roses version of "Live and Let Die" screaming away in the background. As Martin enters the store, the music changes to a Muzak version of the same song without missing a note. Grosse Pointe Blank is sly, hip, and dark but never gets caught up in trying too hard on any of those counts. It's likely more fun than most high school reunions and is a great way to kill some time.

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