Let’s see now. I have heard so many good things about this French action thriller directed by Fred Cavaye who was responsible for another French film “Anything For Her“ which was re-made in the U.S. as “The Next Three Days“ with Russell Crowe. “Point Blank” had several good reviews going for it, and i did not know much about Cavaye save for that other film. I was a little mad at myself when I missed "Point Blank's" limited release in theaters. The film is pretty straight-forward and honestly, it really doesn’t do much different in the world of French crime thrillers. But hey, “Point Blank” proves to be deliciously entertaining to watch and is proof that a simple formula can be a good film.
Samuel (Gilles Lellouche) is a nurse’s assistant who happened to be working in the hospital one night when an attempt on a patient’s life took place and this in turn, puts Samuel at odds with some very bad people. This patient, (Roschdy Zem) turns out to be a thief, whose associate kidnaps Samuel’s very pregnant wife, Nadia (Elena Anaya) in order to coerce Samuel into helping with this patient’s escape. Now, there is a race against time, as things become much more complicated and scary--Samuel must evade the police, this thief’s enemies and the men involved in a high-profile case….
With the film’s simplicity, Fred Cavaye wisely does whatever he could do to amp up the intensity in the film. I mean, the film starts up at breakneck speed, slows down a bit to develop some elements and devices, and then it once again goes into overdrive. Cavaye keeps the film’s flow at a breath-taking pace, he moves the scenes very quickly in an attempt to keep his viewer at the edge of his seat. Cavaye is successful, as he manages to keep up the momentum as he has his characters be developed alongside the twists and turns of the script (written by Cavaye and Guillaume Lemans). The film is essentially a chase film, as Samuel runs around with this thief; it is filled with sprints all the while weaving the story with certain surprising twists and turns that never seem to stop. I know, some may think that there is a lot going on with “Point Blank”, and while this is true, Cavaye was able to gain solid ground and develop around the film’s grip on the audience.
It is hard to review a film whose success relies on fast pacing and twists, so I will do my best not to give any details. I do know what is in your mind. Does this film use the cheap camera trickery which is just so familiar to us? Well, Cavaye does utilize the shaky camera style but only when the scene is moving and uses them to express the emotions through close ups. He manipulates the camera to exude this feeling of desperation and escape; amps up the intensity, as he maneuvers everything with the feeling of claustrophobia. I was surprised that the direction didn’t do the cheap way to make an action film by overloading the screen with pows and booms. Nope, instead the direction treats us with an unfolding storyline where one thing leads to another; there is a lot of screaming, running, and consequences for the characters. I was amazed how the direction managed to tie everything together as it moved insanely fast.
Cavaye also does not shy away from intense violence. The film isn’t gore-rily done or all that bloody, but it is filled with graphic imagery and does have a decent body count. There is a lot of credible thrills with “Point Blank”; not just with Samuel but with everyone involved. Nadia, being the pregnant victim and Samuel the husband automatically gains a lot of sympathy, but I was really surprised how a simple police squad could gain viewer interest so easily. This ‘patient’ also holds up a lot of surprises in the script, he is given a sort of an enigmatic aura about him, as we get to know the mystery behind him.
Yes, “Point Blank” is a standard good guy-bad guy-bad guy becomes good guy-who’s the guilty one premise with all the typical devices of authoritative corruption and greed that we have all seen before. But the film succeeds with its adrenaline pumping momentum, and it wraps up everything quite efficiently. The end makes a lot of sense, and it adds more impact to the groundwork it laid out in its entirety. It is just filled with tension that even those who have a fear for subtitles may not even notice the need to read. This film is simple and yet, insanely tense that it will leave its audience breathless. “Point Blank” is on point to be a great action film and a must for adrenaline junkies.
This is how Point Blank opens: When safecracker Hugo Sartet suddenly finds two men confronting him in a darkened Paris apartment, it’s run or die. He runs…out of the apartment, down the stairs, across a thoroughfare dodging cars, into a traffic-filled underpass. He’s been shot in the side, bleeding, gasping for air. Cars roar past him. Some narrowly miss him. He’s bleeding badly and can hardly stagger. The two pursuers, guns drawn, are almost on him. They’re not interested … more