Triple feature: “Grosse Pointe Blank,” “Something Wild,” and “Mafioso” – three films whose charge comes from continuously zigzagging, at whiplash-inducing paces, to unexpected destinations, and whose provocativeness stems from playing with the border separating normalcy from deviance.
“Grosse Pointe Blank” has the edge on verbal zing, and a smartly perpendicular relationship with the past, but whether it knows it or not, it owes a significant debt to “Something Wild.” Among other things, the two films share: a surreal high school reunion, electrifying visuals, a sharp soundtrack, bathroom violence, freighted convenience store encounters, and borderline behavior that is contagious and, in its context, not entirely illogical. (However, only one of these films features white-hot performances from a panther-like Ray Liotta and a mesmerizingly good Melanie Griffith.)
At 25 years old, “Something Wild” feels fresher than a slap. “Mafioso” is far older, and its visual freshness, though equal in degree to “Something Wild”‘s, is of a different sort – more of-its-time than ahead-of-it. Jazz-inflected jolts of dislocation and a richness of details (some comic, some tragic) guarantee a ride as exhilaratingly disorienting and entertainingly unsettling as that provided by its younger kin.
(Creative Commons licensed original images courtesy of “Table for Three, Please,” “kayepants” and “Magic Weaver” at Flickr)