French Director and Writer Fred Cavaye has a knack for executing thrillers. Co-written by Guillaume Lemans, “Point Blank” or “À bout Portant” does not waste anytime, jumping from one intense scene to the next.
The two also co-wrote “Anything for Her,” or “Pour Elle,” which was recently remade into “The Next Three Days” featuring Russell Crowe. Following a slightly similar concept, it’s safe to say these men have a thing for damsels in distress.
A thriller by definition, there is no time to sit back and relax, you need every second to keep up with the rapid pace of the story. Blink and you might miss something important or a subtitle as the movie is in French.
Subtitles or not the plot is explicit. Every move, chase and gunshot is eloquently engineered that even if you miss a word it would not matter. The appeal of the movie will make you forget you’re reading.
An ordinary man, Samuel brilliantly played by Gilles Lellouche, is an intern on the hospital nightshift. While looking after several patients, he notices a man impersonating a doctor flee the chambers of a motorcycle victim, Sartet played by Roschdy Zem, a professional thief. The impostor severed the unconscious Sartet’s respirator. Quickly saving his life, and notifying the authorities, Samuel’s world is turned upside down as Sartet’s partner kidnaps his seven month bedridden pregnant wife, Nadia played by Elena Anaya.
Ordered to help Sartet escape the hospital and the surveillance of the police in just three hours, Samuel will stop at nothing to get his wife back. Upon completing his task, the pair team up as they are chased by two police squads one wanting to help them and the other to “waste them.”
Samuel finds himself in the middle of an elaborate police inside job, when they are falsely framed for the murder of the French Meyer and a lieutenant. All the while, Nadia is held captive by the corrupt officers and enduring difficulties of her own.
Instantly engaged by Samuel and Nadia’s relationship, the film builds a sturdy emotional connection. There is a strong character development for Samuel as he is forced into a life of dodging bullets as well as the cops. Even when his survival instincts kick into gear, Samuel’s benevolence shines through. The stone cold Sartet, on the other hand, is as tough as they come with a means to seek vengeance and a look that can kill.
As we discover the story line with Samuel, the many twists and turns send the film soaring out of control. Cavaye is able to create controlled chaos specifically in the last few scenes when a planned riot breaks out throwing another obstacle in front of Samuel. The police station is extremely loud and crawling with suspected rioters placing more space between Nadia and her husband. The use of a pregnant woman was highly effective in forming a link between the couple and the viewer. Thoughts of concern help heighten anxiety.
“Point Blank” has all the elements of a classic thriller. The everyday man who gets mixed in a conspiracy for being at the wrong place at the wrong time, action packed scenes and a hint of the sympathy factor. The film is a surge of adrenaline at the core of crisis.