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Film Studies 101
Feature
Become A Heist Films Expert In Ten Easy Movies
Master a genre in just a handful of films

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Become A Heist Films Expert In Ten Easy Movies | Point Break (1991)
Point Break (1991)

Tagline: “27 banks in three years - anything to catch the perfect wave!”

So full of testosterone there’s not a drug test in the world it wouldn’t fail, this slug of movie adrenaline would be utterly barmy were it not based on the true-life tale of a gang who robbed their local Halifax before heading to Cleethorpes for a weekend's tubing. That it isn’t entirely loopy is thanks mainly to the ripping pace set by Kathryn Bigelow, the thrillingly visceral camerawork, and some super-smartmouthed dialogue (“Guess we must just have ourselves an asshole shortage, huh?”, “Not so far”). The proposterousness is barely noticeable as Bodhi (Patrick Swayze) and a bunch of big-haired surfers confound the FBI, knock off banks and say ‘brah’ a lot. Rookie agent Johnny Utah (Keanu Reeves) is the point break on which Bodhi and his gang, the Ex-Presidents, will founder, but not before much surfing, sky-diving and robbing is done. Somewhere in all there is a complex Freudian critique of clashing super-egos and Deleuzian philosophy, but we’re darned if we can find it. And we lied about the true story bit, too.

Iconic moment: Johnny Utah chucks himself out of a plane sans parachute in hot pursuit of Bodhi and crew. Luckily it turns out he can fly as well as surf.

What to quote: “Why be a servant to the law, when you can be its master?”

Pub trivia: The ex-presidents represented are Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter, Richard Nixon and Lyndon Johnson. Gerald Ford missed the cut.

Further reading… The Getaway (1972), Inside Man (2006)

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