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Film Film November 24, 2000
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Richard C. Sarafian
Vanishing Point
1971

Some people call this an "existential" car chase movie. Barry Newman -- as a sort of nihilistic Richard Petty -- eats tons of speed and hallucinates about his troubled past while attempting to drive his supercharged Dodge Challenger from Denver to San Francisco in less than 15 hours in order to win a bet. Goaded on by the voice of Cleavon Little, a stoned DJ who trumpets our amped-up driver as a sort of folk anti-hero, Newman has plenty of strange and groovy experiences out in the desert. The ending is about as starkly powerful as a movie gets.


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