Time has a way of going by. As it ticks by second by second, we hardly notice it. Eventually, though, it becomes like a snowball barreling down a hill, getting bigger and bigger. Before you no it, time has become a monster holding you back or holding you down.
Such is the dilemma of Martin Blank, played by the perfectly cast John Cusack, in Grosse Pointe Blank. Something about his high school graduation in 1986 spooked him so he ran off, joined the military and eventually wound up in the world of professional murder. The film takes place ten years after he stood up his high school sweetheart for the prom. In town to do a job, Martin runs into a lot of his old friends and foes, all the while realizing that time has screwed him over. God bless the high school reunion.
Grosse Pointe Blank calls on Gen-X to finally move on and grow up. Director George Armitage encourages them to keep the skeptical attitude, but to also negotiate some sort of confusing middle ground between maintaining the image without “selling out”. Martin became a hit man as a way to run away from his life. His job forced him to disappear from his everyday life because if he were to be caught he’d be looking at a long time in prison.
But now he’s at a turning point in his life. From his willingness to once again walk away from what he’s established for himself – this time a successful business – Martin is ready to finally settle down. Have a kid, get married, build a white picket fence, go to the company picnic every summer. However, Martin still wants to stay true to himself. He doesn’t want to become dull, boring and generic like the majority of the people he runs into at his wedding. Succeed or fail, first and foremost he wants to be Martin Blank. For better or worse, the world is changing around him. The film hedges on Martin’s decision to go with the flow and get frustrated or to actually become a part of that world and make it more to his liking.
Grosse Pointe Blank is a film that has it all: comedy, drama, action, romance, a great soundtrack. Better yet, it’s all done well. Armitage has put together a thoughtful movie that has many layers and works in many moods. It’s hard not to ponder one’s own impact in the world after seeing Grosse Pointe Blank, but it’s just as easy to sit back and enjoy the sharp dialogue, awkward situations and funny predicaments Martin finds himself in.
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