September 11, 2011


It came as little surprise to discover Point Blank, a French thriller about an ordinary man doing extraordinary things for his wife, was from the same director as Pour Elle (Anything for Her), Fred Cavaye. I still haven't managed to lay my eyeballs on that quite regarded film (remade by Paul Haggis as The Next Three Days) but after my experience with Point Blank, I am quite looking forward to. 

Point Blank is, quite simply, nothing more nor less than a cracking action thriller looking to take its audience on a ride. That it is so well made with no higher pretensions is refreshing a change. Things open with a life-or-death chase through the streets of Paris - one man being chased, two intimidating thugs chasing. It's a job gone wrong and is a great way to get the audience hooked within the first few minutes. But things calm down when we meet our main character: Gilles Lellouche is hospital attendant Samuel. He's studying to become a nurse and he and his wife are expecting their first child. She's in a delicate condition, supposed to be taking it easy for the last few weeks of her pregnancy. Which is, yes, beginning to lay it on a bit thick. Our man from the opening minutes ends up in the hospital where Samuel works. It's Sam's dumb luck that he has this man in his ward; because of this injured man Sam's pregnant wife is kidnapped and he is to break the mystery man out if he ever wants to see her again.

It's an effective set-up and Cavaye keeps the action tense and the twists coming, without overselling them (for the most part). The twists feel less like annoying reversals for the sake of it and more like new layers of danger being layered on the poor bastard caught up in this mess. Lellouche is a perfectly rumpled and distressed protagonist, not a superhuman Jason Bourne-type but more John McClane (from the first Die Hard in any case). There's danger, intrigue, violence, footchases, corrupt cops and, at the centre of it all, a frightened married couple trying to find each other. The coda in the final few minutes is perhaps a step too far, tying things up a little too neatly but for the majority of it's runtime Point Blank is a cracking time at the movies.

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