Grosse Pointe Blank Review

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Martin Blank is a professional assassin. He is sent on a mission to a small Detroit suburb, Grosse Pointe, and, by coincidence, his ten-year high school reunion party is taking place there at the same time.


As suggested by its baffling title, Grosse Pomte Blank is a real oddity, a genuine genre-hopper that veers quirkily between stylised noir, caustic satire and shamelessly romantic comedy with barely a pause for breath.

As risk-takers go, however, it succeeds admirably. Martin Q. Blank (Cusack) is a cucumber-cool hitman who, after years of financially rewarding homicide, wants out — until he is coerced into doing one final job, which coincides with his tenth anniversary school reunion in his home town of Grosse Pointe, Michigan. But that's not the only business he has to take care of; aside from putting on a fixed grin and filling his former classmates in on his post-education days, there's the small matter of making up with his high school sweetheart Debi (Driver, in a star-making turn) whom he stood up on prom night and hasn't seen since.

Meanwhile, fellow assassin Grocer (Aykroyd) is in hot pursuit, aiming to wipe out his more proficient rival before he can get to his victim. The script, which requires its characters to talk in bullet points rather than sentences, favours superbly ironic witticisms over brash one-liners, delivering a complex story woven together so neatly it never confuses the audience.

There's much fun to be had, too, from the many incidental players who pop up, from the gallery of bores Blank once shared locker space with, to his screeching secretary (Joan Cusack, Cusack sibling Ann also makes an appearance), while the leads make an attractive, believable couple.

Add to that taut direction which steers clear of such obvious staples as gratuitous violence (the occasional showers of cartoonish gunplay are all the more effective for it), and an 80s soundtrack destined to turn the heads of nostalgics everywhere, and the result is one of the smartest, most original offerings to roll off the studio conveyor belt in a long while.

Hugely recommended.