Vanishing Point

Director: Richard C. Sarafian
Year Released: 1971
Rating: 2.0

Barry Newman races to San Francisco in a supercharged car (on a bet with a drug dealer) and has to outrun cops and other lowlifes (his motives are shaky - deliver what? - although I suspect he may just be like Yves Montand in The Wages of Fear). First hour is smooth, and Sarafian nicely mixes in footage from the main character's past to give you a better idea of his history, but the last act is downright atrocious - the picture falls victim to homophobia, racism, a truly annoying performance by Cleavon Little, silly dialogue and Dean Jagger's dumb prospector (can't blame Mr. Jagger - he wasn't given anything to work with). Curious how this was released the same year as Monte Hellman's much smarter (but equally 'existential') Two-Lane Blacktop.