Point Blank


[a.k.a. À Bout Portant]
Dir: Fred Cavayé
Star: Gilles Lellouche, Roschdy Zem, Gérard Lanvin, Elena Anaya

Samuel (Lellouche) is a nurse, whose wife Nadia (Anaya) is about to have their first child. A man hit by a motorcycle is brought in to their hospital, unconscious, and Samuel disturbs an attempt to make sure the man doesn't leave alive. Back at home, someone knocks Samuel out, and he regains consciousness to find Nadia abducted. He gets a phone-call telling him that if he ever wants to see her again, he needs to find a way to get the man out of hospital. Once Samuel has got past that hurdle, he finds that the man, Hugo Sartet (Zen), might not necessarily be the bad guy, being a patsy set up by corrupt cop, Commander Werner (Lanvin), to take the fall for a murder. Now he and his crew are out to tidy up the loose ends - which includes not just Hugo, but both Samuel and Nadia as well. the good news is, there is a video-tape depicting the killing, and who was actually responsible. The bad news? It's in a safe, in Werner's office at police headquarters.

At a crisp 84 minutes, this plot certainly has some flaws, but things whizz by at such a solid pace there's little time for them to dent your appreciation of a slick, energetic thriller. The highlight is probably a marvellously kinetic chase through the Paris metro, that left me quite breathless. The characterizations are on the terse side, though Samuel and Nadia have a nice relationship; otherwise, these are less characters, than pieces to be moved around the playing surface. However, that's ceertainly far from a fatal criticism, and the film has plenty of twists, at least one solid shock, then ties up its loose ends in a nice coda, that takes place years later. There's even a nod to Luc Besson's Diva, with which this shares a similarly kinetic approach. I'm virtually certain this will end up being turned by Hollywood into an inferior remake, probably sooner rather than later: but why bother to wait?

B
[August 2011]


The running man
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