Both Casino Royale (2006) and Point Break (1991) include men running around shooting guns and a woman abducted, sequestered and threatened by a man. The similarities do not end there. However, the only aspect that interests me this morning is the way the lead males interact with their love interests. In Casino Royale a woman (Caterina Murino) meets Daniel Craig outside a casino and agrees to go back to his place for a drink after talking to him for less than five minutes--even though she does not know his name. In their next shot they are rolling around together on the floor of his hotel room. Later he meets Eva Green in a train. During the conversation that ensues, in which he flirts with her, she makes a comment about his "perfectly formed arse." A mutual attraction is obvious, so it comes as no surprise that they become lovers later on. In Point Break, on the other hand, the relationship begins quite differently. When Lori Petty meets Keanu Reeves at the beach he is underwater, being tossed about by waves and in danger of drowning. She rescues him. When she drags him back onto the beach she insults him and clearly expresses her opinion that he does not belong there before she takes off. She shows absolutely no interest in him and what he has to say to her. Some time later she teaches him to surf and eventually becomes his lover. In their initial meeting he is not the seducer, like Craig, but the saved. In fact, he never does come across as a seducer. In Reeves' interactions with Petty he is not pursuing her so much as learning from her. It is a much more relaxed relationship than the ones Craig has with Murino and Green.
It is exceptionally rare to see women saving men in movies, not to mention teaching them a skill. Point Break, like Casino Royale, was written by a man (three men in the case of the latter), which is not surprising considering the plot. Unlike Casino Royale, however, it was directed by a woman, Kathryn Bigelow. A female director is not the only factor at play here, in terms of the more evolved relationship between the lead male and female. The '90s produced several movies that were far less sexist than the ones coming out now (e.g. Terminator 2 in 1991, Jurassic Park in 1993, The First Wives Club in 1996 and Titanic in 1997). When Point Break was made the most recent backlash against women in movies had not yet begun. It seems funny to say this about a movie made over twenty years ago but after analysing Casino Royale for my book I found watching Point Break--in spite of the shooting and car chases--rather enjoyable, especially the relationship between the lead male and female.
© 2018 Alline Cormier