What ‘Point Break’ Taught Us About Being Men — Life Lessons
“100% pure adrenaline!” – Bodhi (Patrick Swayze)
‘Point Break,’ Kathryn Bigelow’s seminal surfer and bank robber movie, is totally awesome. No, it was never a contender for any Oscar nominations, but it was one hell of a fun movie. If you talk to men (and perhaps a few women) who are old enough to remember it when it came out in 1991, or anyone who has seen it since, it’s fairly easy to see that this really is a film for the guys, and it speaks to all of our unrealized dreams.
The plot is fairly simple. Johnny Utah (Keanu Reeves) is a former college football player turned FBI agent. His first assignment is to bring down a gang of LA bank robbers, who also happen to be surfers. The FBI pays him to learn how to surf, but of course he comes to respect and admire some of the surfers that he is supposed to be investigating. Bodhi (Patrick Swayze) is the guru-like leader of the gang. His character bonds with Keanu’s character, and the two men become like brothers, although things are destined to end badly.
“If you want the ultimate, you’ve got to be willing to pay the ultimate price. It’s not tragic to die doing what you love.” – Bodhi (Patrick Swayze)
So why is this movie so cool? Because it allows guys to do (vicariously) all of the things that they love to do. You’ve got the fallen athlete who redeems himself through hard work and sacrifice, as well as the wild surfing life full of girls, dangerous waves, the counter-cultural romance of bank robbing, brave acts, sky diving without a parachute and a spectacular ending where both the law (Johnny Utah) and the criminal (Bodhi) see their dreams destroyed, but that doesn’t matter, because they refused any compromises with the powers that be, and ended things on their own terms.
In essence, ‘Point Break’ allows us to live the lives of Greek heroes, full of glory and tragedy, with some phenomenal action, sandy beaches, huge ocean swells and sunny days interspersed in between. And the best part is, at the end of every day, the characters living in this world get to chill out on the beach with their bros, a cold beer in their hands and some hot babes by their sides, all the while knowing that another gnarly wave is potentially only a few hours away. They get to exist in the visceral moment, at least until their wild lifestyles, or the ocean, puts an end to their ride.