I've been wanting to watch this movie for years but never was able to. Today afternoon I watched it.
It stars Lee Marvin and Angie Dickinson and is adapted from the novel 'The Hunter' by Richard Stark. The Mel Gibson movie Payback was also adapted from the same novel.
Spoilers lie ahead.
I really liked this movie. It's got Lee Marvin playing a dead man. Lee Marvin's character Walker got screwed out of 93,000 dollars by his partner-in-crime Mal Reese as well as his wife Lynne. They shot him point blank in Alcatraz prison and left him for dead. Except Walker doesn't die and escapes from Alcatraz. A year later he's back and wants the 93,000 dollars owed to him. He finds out that Mal now lives with his wife and works for a sinister company of crooks called The Organization. A mysterious man helps Walker out saying that he wants the Organization gone and Walker can help him out with that while getting his 93,000 dollars back from Reese.
The rest of the story is about Walker doing exactly that.
The thing I loved about this movie is Lee Marvin's portrayal of Walker and John Boorman's direction. Using Flashbacks we're shown that at one point Walker was a warm person and was a loving man, however the Walker that comes back for the money is quite dead. Lee Marvin has maybe a total of 20 lines in the movie and plays Walker as a cold, calculating professional who's simply out for one thing and will do anything to get it. Yet throughout the movie Walker doesn't kill anyone directly. Most everyone who gets into his path dies but it's never directly by Walker's hand. The man's a killer who doesn't kill. There's a certain dumbfounded thing Lee Marvin brings to the role. There are even times where it seems he's just tired of this chase to get the money and just wants to be done with it.
At one point Angie Dickinson's character, Chris, says to Walker, 'You know you did die out there on Alcatraz.' and I think this is quite true.
There's other reasons why this movie is so good. The dialogues, though few are very well written. After a night of passionate sex, Angie Dickinson's character (Walker's Sister-in-Law) asks Walker if he knows what her last name is, to which Walker glibly replies, 'What's my first name?' It's a very interesting moment that even after what they've been through there's this cold distance between them that both of them appreciate.
One of the coolest things about this movie is that unlike other movie heroes Walker isn't really shown as that accomplished. He certainly is accomplished enough to get through the movie without falling for the numerous set-ups but in the fight scenes we always see Walker getting the shit knocked out of him before he manages to get the upper hand. There's also an entire sequence where Angie Dickinson plays with him and runs around a house turning every electrical appliance on while Walker frantically chases her to turn it off. I felt that showed that he's not as in control of the situation as we like to think. The villains of the movie also seem more like actual businessmen than criminal masterminds which suits the tone of the movie and the plot. They're rash and stupid and underestimate Walker a great deal and they pay for it.
I felt the ending could have been better and the twist at the end was quite predictable however it was still a very great movie that's a very interesting watch.
Anyone else see this movie?
What did you think?