Point Blank (aka À Bout Portant) review by Alyse Garner - Cinema Paradiso
Point Blank is a French language thriller with both the classic tropes of the genre and an unexpected turn on the stereotype; a male nurse in a hospital, who until now has lead a perfectly normal life and is expecting a child with his wife, finds himself embroiled in a conspiracy when he saves the life of a patient who had been hit by a motorbike whilst on the run from a group of hit men.
The movie was directed by Fred Cavaye, the director of the French original Por Elle (Anything for Her) which was remade by Hollywood into the inadequate The Next Three Days with Russell Crowe. As with Cavaye’s original Por Elle, Point Blank is a smart, dark and distinctly European thriller.
The start of the film leads, as one would expect, to the kidnapping of Gilles Lellouche’s (the nurse) wife after his involvement with the man at the hospital. At first Lellouche cooperates with the kidnappers but soon finds he is in way over his head. This is where the film turns its back on the typical thriller tropes. Lellouche enlists the help of a female police detective, however this move only leads to Lellouche and his captive wife becoming little more than pawns in a strange power struggle between the police and the kidnappers.
The movie is non-stop and unexpected, yet without being relentless or over enthusiastic with it’s own potential. It is as entertaining and enjoyable as one would want, however it misses out on the opportunity to be truly great simply by over indulging in some of the more Hollywood action tropes of the genre, with extended car chases and minimal character development.