“his nude torso as much of a blank as his face”
Point Break is the most searing kind of love story—a love story in which its lovers only know in a very benighted way that they are in a love story. Johnny Utah falls in love twice in the film. First with his avatar, Tyler, a tiny, homuncular, foul-mouthed version of himself (played by Lori Petty). Or, maybe the other love comes first—Johnny’s love for Bodhi (they call him the Bodhisattva, played with loose-jointed abandon by Patrick Swayze), the Zen-lite leader of a fierce gang of surfers. (Spoiler, he also leads the Ex-Presidents. As Ronald Reagan). You know that Johnny Utah has fallen in love with Bodhi when he chases him (in Reagan costume) down a series of narrow Los Angeles back-alleys, only to finally catch up with him in a drainage ditch.
Leaping into the ditch, Johnny lands awkwardly on his bum knee (football) and collapses in agony to the ground. At that moment, he catches Bodhi’s eye, small, pig-like and afraid-slash-defiant, through the Reagan mask and, ahem, unloads (his gun) furiously into the bland, grey Los Angeles sky. Never mind that the sky is rarely bland in Los Angeles, this is the part of the movie that is the most realistic. This is how love, when it’s frustratingly unrequited, feels. Like you’re shooting bullet after bullet into a blank, low sky.