Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Flashpoint (1984)

The most superior genre of them all is the conspiracy thriller and the golden age of these was during the seventies when paranoia roamed the world, mostly the United States. Therefore the majority of the best conspiracy thrillers was made there - which is kinda interesting, because I think it was Costa-Gavras Z who really started the new trend after a few years hibernating after the JFK murder and John Frankenheimer's masterpiece The Manchurian Candidate. The genre waned during the end of the seventies and lived a confusing life for many years, with many fake new starts. Flashpoint was the first cinema production from HBO, starring Kris Kristofferson and Treat Williams, but I actually think it has an interesting TV vibe over it - in  a good way of course, because this is a brilliant little conspiracy-themed thriller.

Kris Kristofferson is Bobby and Treat Williams is Ernie, two Texas border cops and best buddies. Kris has his impressive stash of drugs in his locker and Ernie has a tendency to show up with a brutal hangover every morning. But deep inside they're good and decent guys who just happens to enjoy life a little bit too much. One day Bobby finds a car buried in the desert. It has a dead body, a rifle and a bag with 800 000 dollars in it. It has also been there at least twenty years. Bobby wants to take the money but Ernie makes them start to investigate the money and driver first so they know what the money comes from. Soon they understand that "someone" knows that they're doing and that the dead driver had a very special mission and now "someone" don't want this story to be told...

Flashpoint is one of those dusty, dirty, manly movies - often starring Kristofferson, but it's also a lot more complex and smarter than most of the dusty, dirty, manly movies set in deserts out there. First of all, it totally lives on the fantastic chemistry between Kristofferson and Williams. The old bear and the young otter (yes, that was also a gay reference if you know the terms used in some of the sub-cultures), best buddies forever. The first scene, Williams in a shower in something that could be misjudged as masturbating ends very surprisingly with Kristofferson's rugged paw coming into frame touching Williams face. My partner, G, who no idea what I was watching (and didn't care either) asked me if it was a gay-themed movie. So even if these two gentlemen lays down women, the only one they care about is each other. It's a pretty unique and interesting buddy-story.

But this is foremost a thriller, a very interesting twist on the conspiracy thriller. It could have been a separate storyline in, for example, David Miller's excellent 1973 Executive Action (a review I wrote in Swedish), the first movie to bring up the theories around the JFK-murder. A movie you MUST see, suitably in a double feature together with Henri Verneuil's I as in Icarus (1979). Flashpoint is set on a small place, in an area which leaves no room for cat and mouse. It's a conspiracy thriller told the traditional American way, like a western. The violence is rough and bloody, the men are quite - but not without emotions. One of the best scenes is Kurtwood Smith, a federal agent on a mission, talking to Kristofferson in almost a desperate way - like everything is hopeless, everything has lost its meaning. Everything, the crime, the murder, the rapes, is there for a reason - to give jobs to all the agents, cops, guards, soldiers.

An interesting viewpoint, more topical today then before.

Flashpoint is an excellent thriller with a top-notch cast and a great Tangerine Dream score. Really something I can recommend!


Anonymous said...

"and the golden age of these was during the seventies when paranoia roamed the world, mostly the United States."

With good reasons, if one is to believe all the stuff Nixon, J Edgar Hoover, Helms etc did in those days.

"Flashpoint is an excellent thriller with a top-notch cast and a great Tangerine Dream score."

Looks like damn fine movie Ninja.....I haven´t seen it.

They did some cool conspiracy thrillers in 80´s though, like No Way Out (1987).

Have you seen The Border (1982) yet..?

Another one of those fine thrillers that feels like a western.


Ninja Dixon said...

Noooo, I haven't seen it - but it sure looks good! I'm very fond of Extreme Prejudice, that's a movie I've seen many, many times!

Anonymous said...

Ninja: Yessss....Extreme Prejudice (1987).....Walter Hill & John Milius, Nick Nolte, Powers Boothe, Maria Conchita Alonso etc....lots of violence in that one Ninja.

Good choice....I expect nothing else from you Ninja.

Speaking of Milius...have you seen Farewell to the King (1989)?