Viggo Mortensen
Boiling Point - 1993



Boiling Point is an intriguing cop drama starring Wesley Snipes as the police officer, and Dennis Hopper with Viggo Mortensen as the pair of ex-cons that he's after. It's set up to be a film noir style story with an elegance - many references and scenes involving big band music, the tough-but-gentle prostitute, the cynical-but-caring girlfriend, even the slain partner who needs to be revenged.

There was a lot of potential here. The story starts with Wesley's character watching an undercover agent get shot. He then only has seven days to track down the killer before he's taken off the case. In the meantime, Dennis' character is fresh out of jail and only has 7 days to pay back a loan he owes. The movie deliberately sets up a lot of parallels like this. The scene where all three men are trying to 'win back' their exs is literally overlaid one on top of the other, showing how each man handles the situation. Dennis sweetly, gently talks his girlfriend into letting him stay. Viggo literally hits his girlfriend across the face before passionately kissing her. Wesley takes the arrogant approach with his ex-wife, telling her he's staying and that's that. The men's lives keep crossing and re-crossing without them realizing it, up until the final act.

I'm not quite sure, then, exactly why the movie seems so low in impact. These are all certainly fine actors. Dennis seemed to be playing out a cardboard stereotype, however, with far less acting power than pretty much any other role I'd seen him. His overzealous constant hand movements seem forced; his dialogue is strained. At least his character was given a back story that seems relatively believable, though. Poor Viggo has to put up with a character that was 2 dimensional from the start. All Viggo does is follow orders. He hits his girlfriend, he shoots men in the face and laughs about the blood. We never know why he's this callous, and the plot never gets us to care, either.

Wesley Snipes has really shown great talent in other films, but again it just feels like he's wasted here. He gets perhaps the most cliched lines of the group. He's worried about losing his son to a new 'father' when his ex-wife finds someone else to be with. He wants to run off with the prostitute. He wants to revenge his fallen cop friend no matter what it takes. And yet - it is amazing how many very obvious clues he misses.

I'd rent this one first to see how you like it. Maybe the big band scenes will appeal to you, or maybe watching so many good actors in unusual roles will give you different insights into their acting skills. It's not a movie I personally would own for repeated re-watchings, though.

Viggo Mortensen

Viggo Mortensen

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