Several years ago David Caruso left a young TV series to pursue a career in the big time. That young series was NYPD Blue and the big time movie career ended up somewhat less successful. Caruso is back on TV now and his latest film is proof that’s where he belongs. It’s not that Black Point is a bad film at all. It’s not. It does, however, play out like a made for TV movie. Artisan must agree because they decided to release it in full screen format. It’s one of those several twists/ no honor among thieves affairs. If you liked The Score and Heist this is the kind of film for you in a lighter package.
John Hawkins (Caruso) has a passionate love affair with booze which causes him trouble at work and extensive body damage to his truck. He sobers up when he meets a damsel in distress, Natalie (Haskell). She appears to be the abused wife of a common hood. Hawkins takes her in and gets almost killed, framed for murder, and his best friend beaten and left for dead for his troubles.
The soundtrack is listed as a Dolby Digital presentation. It is an odd 3 channel mix (center and two mains). Occasionally my sub indicator would flash, but this is a really simple mix. Don’t expect any dynamics and you won’t be disappointed. The music is clear enough, but much of the audio sounds like it was run through a compressor. This is particularly bad because Caruso tends to deliver a lot of softspoken dialogue.
Black Point is presented in Full Screen format. I don’t mind TV material presented in this format, after all it is the natural ratio for old made-for-TV, but I do seriously object to theatrical films being presented this way. The overall production is really quite good. Colors are natural and at moments truly outstanding. Blacks are rock solid and flesh tones are near perfect. Artisan wastes this beautiful transfer by compressing the image at times instead of the more common pan and scan technique. The result is an often distorted “squashed” appearance in what could have been outstanding vistas.
The only feature is the trailer. Menus are the standard static buttons against a still promotional shot.
What makes this film worth watching is the neat array of characters to be found. Caruso does play the brooding roles well. Susan Haskell is very well suited for the role of Natalie. She is very convincing and sells the plot twists. Thomas Ian Griffith is underused as the abusive hood. The brightest spot would have to be the character of Bear, John’s boss and best friend played brilliantly by Gordon Tootoosis. In case you’re wondering, the title is taken from the town in Washington state where the film takes place. Overall this film is a step back up for Caruso. God only knows he’s had “a hard fall”.