Point Blank

Samuel Pierret is a nurse who walks in on the attempted murder of Hugo Sartet, a gunshot victim at the hospital. His quick thinking saves  the man in question. Later while bragging how he was a hero to his spouse, Hugo’s henchmen invade his home, knock him out cold and kidnap his pregnant wife. They are now holding her hostage until Samuel goes back to the hospital and frees Hugo, a man now under police surveillance, so they can finish the job. Apparently the heavys  are finished with the guy. Well paced suspense is a non-stop race through the subways and streets of Paris. It never lets up.

At a lean and mean 84 minutes, this thriller moves quickly and efficiently, providing excitement at a serviceable pace. Despite the French subtitles, this isn’t art house cinema. It’s about thrills, not script. Director Fred Cavayé’ clearly has one eye on Hollywood. The story unfolds very much like one of Liam Neeson’s recent vehicles like Taken or Unknown. The director’s debut, 2008’s Anything for Her, was even remade as The Next Three Days. Ironically that remake actually featured Liam Neeson in a supporting role.

There is little doubt in my mind that this picture will be remade as well, but don’t wait for the substandard remake. See the original in all it’s glory for the cast is quite good here. There’s a surprising amount of character development for a genre movie of this sort. Actor Gilles Lellouche stars as the likable protagonist pushed to break the law to save his wife. Roschdy Zem, a French actor of Moroccan descent, is Hugo Sartet, the thief he is forced to secure. I kept seeing Vin Diesel in the part, but Sartet is no indestructible action hero, his part is more subtle than that. Their interaction is a big part of what makes the plot so compelling. Also rounding out the main roles is Spanish actress Elena Anaya as his wife/damsel in distress and Gérard Lanvin as crooked Paris police commander Patrick Werner.

Point Blank is an above average action thriller. It’s not the first time you’ll watch an ordinary man in extraordinary circumstances, but it’s always a solid basis for a script. Director Fred Cavayé started as a fashion and advertising photographer. His training imbues the operation with style and flair. It’s probably only a matter of time before he’s invited to the U.S. to start making pictures there. Based on his first and only two films, I’d say sooner is better than later.

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2 Responses to “Point Blank”

  1. Nice. I´m dying to watch this. A friend recommended it the other day and now, reading your review, I realize I have to see it ASAP. I actually watched Pour Elle a few months ago and liked it very much. Fast, exhilarating, unpretentious (but not brainless) action. Hope this one continues with that trend.

  2. I completely agree that this could be a Liam Neeson type movie in the U.S, but I’m sure I would enjoy the original better. Worth the watch.

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