‘Grosse Pointe Blank’ (1997) Review

Professional hitman Martin Blank is invited to his 10 year high school reunion. Having essentially been MIA from his hometown since he disappeared from it on prom night, Martin struggles with the idea of attending. No one knows what he does for a living, especially not his ex-girlfriend, Debi, whom he left behind in 1986 without a word. After coaxing some advice from his very reluctant therapist, Martin decides to attend his reunion, especially since he was given a brand new hit which just so happened to take place in his old hometown.

This was my first time watching Grosse Pointe Blank (much to my husband’s horror, who loves this movie and was convinced we had watched it before) and I have to say. I really enjoyed it. I tend to enjoy most of John Cusack’s movies and I think Grosse Pointe Blank became one of my favorites. It’s a fun mix of action, dark comedy, and romance set against a high school reunion where Martin is honest with his friends – he’s a professional killer – but nobody believes him.

Desperate to make amends with Debi (Minnie Driver), Martin puts off opening the dossier on his current mark, aware that once the job is complete, he’ll have to leave. I found the chemistry between Cusack and Driver to be absolutely mesmerizing and while they’ve been apart for a decade, I could still feel the history between them. Driver edges into Cool Girl territory with a lot of charm while Cusack’s Martin seems to be an older version of Lloyd Dobbler if he had decided to become a hitman – complete with the manic energy and kickboxing expertise. He’s as affable as ever and despite Martin’s moral shortcomings, you can’t help but root for him. Dan Aykroyd is a brilliantly funny rival and antagonist while Joan Cusack and Alan Arkin shine in smaller, supporting roles.

I found Grosse Pointe Blank to be an extremely entertaining black comedy. Every time you start to get comfortably pulled into the romance, you’re jerked back to reality by being reminded of what Martin does for a living and everyone out to get him. The violence is never too far behind and I have to say, I thoroughly enjoyed the climactic shoot-out that occurs while Martin is trying to explain himself and his feelings to Debi, who is hiding in a bathroom.

While Professional Killer isn’t exactly something to brag about, it definitely makes Martin a hell of a lot more interesting than the classmates he catches up with – nine to five jobs, marriages, babies… they may be craving the kind of excitement Martin experiences daily, but Martin finds himself craving the settled life. And look, I know this movie was meant to deal with a 10 year reunion, but there is absolutely no way those people were in their late twenties. It would have made a lot more sense for this to be a 20 year reunion unless everyone who attended Pointe High led a really rough life.

This was one of my favorite movies so far this year and is definitely one I’ll be watching again in the future. Hugh Grant generally gets the Rom-Com King crown but I think a case could really be made for Cusack’s coronation.

Author: Romona Comet

"I'm probably watching a rom-com right now."