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Point of Origin (2002)

Ray Liotta , John Leguizamo , Newton Thomas Sigel  |  R |  DVD
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Ray Liotta, John Leguizamo, Colm Feore, Cliff Curtis, Bai Ling
  • Directors: Newton Thomas Sigel
  • Writers: Matthew Tabak
  • Producers: Fred C. Caruso, John Herzfeld, Keri Selig
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Dubbed: Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Hbo Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: May 20, 2003
  • Run Time: 86 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000092T6E
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #129,067 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Point of Origin" on IMDb

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Based on a terrifying true story, there's a madman setting fires that kill in Southern California. A madman leading a double-life that his friends, his partner, even his wife doesn't know about. Time is running out as the number of victims rises. Now the only way to stop the killer is to find the Point of Origin

Serial arson is haphazardly dramatized in Point of Origin, a fact-based HBO production that's more flashy than effective. A respected cinematographer (The Usual Suspects, X-Men) making his directorial debut, Newton Thomas Sigel turns this pyrotechnic mystery into a showcase for rampant visual trickery, employing digital effects, various film speeds, and Hong Kong-like stunt fantasies to the outbreak of arson in Glendale, California, in 1987. Ray Liotta plays the arson investigator whose behavior draws the suspicion of his colleagues, but his guilt or innocence (and a really obvious make-up disguise) take a back seat to Sigel's visual treatment of fire, which borders on fetishism as it runs forward and backward in time. The effects are undeniably fascinating, suggesting the scary possibility that real arsonists might find this film inspiring. Obviously that's not Sigel's intention, but he's too busy showing off to fulfill the story's untapped potential. --Jeff Shannon

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars somewhat disappointing from the book March 16, 2008
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Having read the book first, I was a bit disappointed in the film. However, I gave it a 3 because I thought the photography and story were well done.

This is a TRUE story of man who dreamed of being a police officer, which the film did not touch on. When he failed the police exams, he became a firefighter, but his super-ego was such that he was never satisfied "only" fighting a fire. When a job came available for an arson investigator, he applied, and thus began his career of starting sensational fires up and down the coast of California, resulting in the death of at least 7 people.

The film shows various fires attribututed to John Orr, his interactions in the fire department, and the task team that was formed to catch him. It was scary to see how those who viewed this Man as a friend and asset had a difficult time believing he was guilty of these horrendous crimes.

There were only minor scenes of the two court cases, with the verdits shown on TV shows. The amount of fires linked to him, and the extent of property damage, etc was never mentioned.

Although interestering enough, the book was so rich, and the film lacked the basic problem - that John could not deal with being rejected from the police force, then created an environment where he would be seen as the "hero." I really didn't get the feel of "being there" that I would have liked to have in this kind of film. Not a total disappointment, but not recommended if you've read the book.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Story that caught me off guard August 10, 2003
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I knew absolutely nothing about this story before seeing the movie. The film began and when it said that it was based off true events, I almost turned it off. What caught my attention was the visual protrayer of the arson investigation... after that it was the story and the performances of the actors themselves. Ray Liotta stars as arson investigator John Orr. He, along with John Leguizamo, are trying to figure out who is starting all these arson-based fires. John Orr is well regarded as the chief arson inspector and if anyone can find out, he can. So the film plays out like a cat and mouse game. You are trying to figure out what is motivating the person who is setting these fires. What makes the story a bit more compelling is that, during the 90's, at least three firefighters were arrested for arson. After watching the DVD, I found myself going over the film again. I figured, since it was based on a true story the DVD would have some interesting extras. I was disappointed, therefore could not give it a 5. Nevertheless I did find the story fascinating.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great experience February 18, 2013
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I love this movie, and the buying experience couldn't have been better. This is the PERFECT gift for a firefighter
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