Directed by Richard C. Sarafian
Running time: 99 minutes
Directed by Richard C. Sarafian, Vanishing Point (1971) hails from a time when a genre of movies could be made almost entirely from car chases – with real stunt people in real cars tearing across America. Probably the most famous of this genre, Vanishing Point is beloved of stoners and car heads alike and includes all the vital ingredients of a road movie classic: a trophy car, endless chase scenes, hitch-hikers and female nudity. Starring Barry Newman, Cleavon Little, Charlotte Rampling and Dean Jagger, the film features scenic shots of the American Southwest, but is also an entertaining comment on post Woodstock-era America. Vietnam vet, ex-cop and former racing driver, Kowalski (Newman) works for a car service, taking delivery of the ultimate muscle car – a white 1970 Dodge Challenger – that needs to be driven from Denver to San Francisco. Kowalski, who is escaping his past, keeps awake by popping pills and rashly bets his dealer that he can make the epic journey in less than 15 hours but almost as soon as he sets off, he is instructed to pull over. Ignoring the police and driving on, a chase ensues which lasts for the duration of the movie, peopled with a host of characters along the way and encouraged by the voice of Super Soul (Cleavon Little), a blind DJ with a police radio scanner who sees Kowalski as a true hero and “the last American to whom speed means freedom of the soul”. In an era when CGI visuals are the norm, Vanishing Point with its simple plot line and dramatic ending, is not to be missed.
Reservation is not necessary, but places are limited. Please arrive early to avoid disappointment.