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Festivale online magazine, Dec 1997

Grosse Pointe Blank

As far as your humble reviewer can tell, if it has the two Cusacks together in a film, it is going to be well worth watching. They were great together in Say Anything and they are interesting in Grosse Pointe Blank. Joan as the secretary to a professional killer plays a few twitches too many, I'm not sure what she or the director were trying to do with this, but there was a peculiar quality, as if she was simultaneously eating the inside of her cheek and eating.

That said, you should be prepared to have a bit of fun watching this film.

Start with playing with the name and all the possible permutations and puns that the film makers imply, and just keep watching the film. Listen to the wordplay, watch the juxtapositions: there is a lot going on in this film.

Movie Poster, Grosse Pointe Blank, Festivale online magazine

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It's a simple film, about a simple man, a self-employed guy with a secretary and a cat. Of course, he has these special secret-handshake kind of meetings with the others in his business, because he's a professional killer. He goes to his high school reunion, to revisit Debbie, the girl who he obsessively dreams about, and to pay off a debt by making a hit.

We wonder is it true, as his psychiatrist suggests, that he is having a moral problem with his work? Are we going to watch Martin Blank (Cusack He) learn his lessons, eschew his career and achieve redemption?

You can never go home, but you can shop there

Poor Martin, he's there in his home town, with the people and places of his childhood, and they don't realise how divorced his life has been from them.

Martin: I'm a professional killer. Debbie: Do you get dental with that?

This is one of those films that gets the tag "under-rated". The people in it do good work, and the humour arises naturally from the situations and the characters. There is a noir irony to a film about killing and being killed.

Willy Loman in Death of a Salesman broke new ground, because it was the first time an average person's life earned the term 'tragedy' in criticism. In Grosse Pointe Blank we are again asked to take a step away from our own notions and consider what the professional killer is experiencing. As Mike Myers points out in Austin Powers nobody ever considers the henchman's family.

Martin: I'm a professional killer. Best Friend: Do you have to do post-graduate work for that?

There's action for the adrenalin freaks, and relationship stuff for the real people, and a story for film buffs, and Dan Ackroyd, well that's just gravy. Definitely worth a watch.

Martin: I'm a professional killer. Debbie's Dad: Good for you. It's a growth industry.

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See also: John Cusack films page
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Just the facts:

Title: Grosse Pointe Blank (1997)
Written by: Tom Jankiewicz (story) , Tom Jankiewicz and D.V. DeVincentis & Steve Pink & John Cusack
Directed by: George Armitage
Produced by: Brent Armitage (associate), Susan Arnold, Roger Birnbaum, John Cusack (co-producer), Jonathan Glickman (executive), Steve Pink (co-producer), Donna Roth (as Donna Arkoff Roth), Jackie Rubin (associate), Lata Ryan (executive)
Edited by: Brian Berdan
Director of Photography: Jamie Anderson

Official website:
The Players: John Cusack .... Martin Q. Blank
Minnie Driver .... Debi Newberry
Alan Arkin .... Dr. Oatman
Dan Aykroyd .... Grocer
Joan Cusack .... Marcella
Hank Azaria .... Steven Lardner
For session times of current films, use the cinema listings on the Movie links page. For scheduled release dates, see the coming attractions section.
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ISSN 1328-8008
Published in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
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Filed: 10-Dec-1997 : Last updated: : Last tested: 3-Jul-2014: Last Compiled: 3-Jul-2014
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