First Takes: Point Break


In the second feature of our running series Louise Wylie gives her first impressions of Kathryn Bigelow’s seminal 90s surfer-thriller.

Have you ever reached one of those watershed moments? An event that can put your existence into such a new perspective that you can’t help but classify your life as from either before or after that crucial moment? For me, this watershed came in the form of 1991’s iconic Point Break – a film about which I remained shockingly unaware for most of my life. Yet thankfully my ignorance has since passed. I have seen the light, and my life is now divided into two segments: BPB (Before Point Break) and APB (Anno Pointus Breakus).

Kathryn Bigelow’s film revolves around a very common plot, as FBI agent Johnny Utah strives to track down a gang of clown-masked bank robbers/surfer bros. He’s the rookie agent with dangerous new ideas who doesn’t play by the rule book, and he also happens to look like Keanu Reeves. If Keanu’s stoic presence isn’t enough to get your heart racing, you’re also treated to a ripped Patrick Swayze as mysterious spiritual surfer Bodhi – not quite Dirty Dancing’s Patrick Swayze, but still, Patrick Swayze is Patrick Swayze.

I don’t know if I need to go on with my description at this point – if you’re not convinced by the film’s central dynamic duo then you’re a mystery to me. But if you still need more, the film isn’t just two hours of eye candy. There are some badass fight scenes, some badass surfing scenes, and some badass emotional rollercoasters. It’s an action packed thriller with an underlying romance between two (definitely straight) men (who both like women, by the way).

Still not convinced? Point Break also includes for your viewing pleasure: a very cute Lori Petty as Reeves and Swayze’s beard; an uncanny Richard Nixon impersonation; a skydiving session turned struggle to the death; kidnapping; and a lot of surfing. Like a lot. I know it’s a film about surfing but still.

I could go on about the film until you reach your, ahem, breaking point, but I’ll stop here. Just know that Point Break is out there, waiting for you. Go on, treat yourself and, in the immortal words of Johnny Utah, “vaya con Dios”.

[Louise Wylie – @WomanPendulum]

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