Blu-Ray * Vanishing Point * 1971Ŵ�s Vanishing Point is an American showcase of all the beauty that patiently awaits visitor experience in the American Southwest. Imagine one of those high-def films where you are flown across the Nevada desert to witness the astonishing landscapes and ornate textures of all there is to soak in, only in this version, because of an out-of-control ex-race car driver named Kowalski ( Barry Newman ), thereŴ�s a bit more going on during the trip. The serene atmospheres are still intact but they are ripped through by four metaphorical blades - the tires on KowalskiŴ�s Ŵ�70s Dodge Challenger.

We donŴ�t learn KowalskiŴ�s name though until late in the film and this constructs Kowalski into an every-man kind of figure. What initially ends with Kowalski losing his girlfriend to a surfing accident, eventually churns into a simple semi drug related bet ( Kowalski states that he will drive from Denver to San Francisco in a measly fifteen hours ) which then alchemizes into a desperate, soul-searching, wild ride caterwauled by multiple, intense police chases. Within a few minutes of KowalskiŴ�s departure from Denver, the fuzz are hot on his border-breaking trail and they keep the heat on all the way to the unexpected end.

The plot of the film is very miniscule - make the proposed impossible drive within the amount of time given - but what keeps Vanishing Point rivited together is an eclectic mix of oddball characters set against an onslaught of Americana scenery: A blind, African-American DJ with a police scanner, broadcasts the ongoing pursuit over the radio and slowly turns the tiny event into a national spectacle, ultimately making Kowalski into a hero of sorts. Kowalski also meets up with an old prospector, roaming around the desert, who catches snakes and trades them to a religious clan for black beans and other modest supplies. Yet, the strangest characters are a desert hippy and his nude hippy girlfriend ( played by costume designer, Gilda Texter ) who rides into frame on a motorcycle and hints that sheŴ�s willing to service Kowalski in any way he sees fit.

Interestingly, Quentin Tarantino paid homage to Vanishing Point with his Grindhouse film Death Proof, starring Kurt Russell, by not only giving Death Proof an overall Vanishing Point vibe but specifically, giving the muscle car driven by Russell in Death Proof a license plate that reads: OA-5599 - which is a direct lift from KowalskiŴ�s Challenger.

A cult classic, with near Lynch-esque characters, that zealously merges the constant roar of a hot-rod engine with the almost silent American Southwest atmosphere, Vanishing Point has yet to vanish. // Review by David Paul Wyatt Perko, Surveil Magazine