A terrific late 60s thriller. The story is very simple – a man (Lee Marvin) is betrayed by his wife and best friend who
shoot him and leave him for dead during a robbery they all commit together. Marvin spends the rest of the film
getting revenge, as well as trying to get his $93,000 back.
But where the story itself is simple, Boorman brings a dazzling array of stylistic conceits, many more normally at home in European art films
of the day, than in a Hollywood tough guy revenge story. Echoes of Godard, Bergman, Truffaut, and Antonioni - just to name a few – pull
one to look deeper into this story, the loose, sometimes confusing and elliptical structure leading us inside the character's alienation.
There have been many films starring the 'lone tough guy' but this is one about just how alone and lonely it is to be that guy, and how
pointless being an individualist can seem in a modern world, where even crime is run not by street-tough hoods, but by corporate types in
suits. "The Organization" here isn't the Mafia, but might well be any Fortune 500 company, and indeed the film acknowledges the darkly comic
absurdism of Marvin's quest for $93,000 from men to whom that kind of money is chump change.
In that sense it's a beautiful, dream-like study of the old ideal of the loner coming up against a modern world where the loner is no longer
the hero, or even the anti-hero. He's simply, sadly an anachronism.
The WB DVD transfer is pretty solid, but this film really screams out for a good blu-ray upgrade.