Point Blank (A Bout Portant) (15)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner08/06/2011

Four out of Five stars
Running time: 84 mins

Impressively directed, brilliantly written and superbly acted, this is a fast-paced, pulse-pounding thriller of the kind that the Americans don't seem to be able to make anymore.

What's it all about?
Directed by Fred Cavaye (who made the equally excellent Anything For Her, recently remade as The Next Three Days), Point Blank stars Gilles Lellouche as hapless hospital orderly Samuel, whose pregnant wife Nadia (Elena Anaya) is suddenly kidnapped. Samuel then receives a phone call, ordering him to break heavily guarded patient Hugo (Roschdy Zem) out of hospital if he ever wants to see his wife again.

Samuel manages to get Hugo away from the police but things quickly go from bad to worse as he discovers he's caught in the middle of a vicious war between ruthless criminals and corrupt cops. When the police name Samuel as a fugitive, he realises he's going to have to join forces with Hugo if he's going to have a hope of rescuing Nadia.

The Good
Lellouche makes a terrific everyman and has a nice line in eye-rolling exasperation, which he deploys to amusing effect as his situation gets increasingly complicated. Zem is equally good as the mysterious, cool-headed Hugo and there's strong support from both Gerard Lanvin (as the ringleader of the crooked cops) and from Mireille Perrier as a trustworthy detective who starts to suspect Samuel might be innocent after he manages to contact her.

This is essentially an adrenaline pumping chase thriller that doesn't waste a second of its 84 minute running time, thanks to fast-paced direction, skilful editing and a pounding score by Klaus Badelt. The script is superb too, giving the characters sufficient depth and ensuring that you root for them at every turn, which is just as well, because the final act involves a ludicrous rescue attempt that would scupper many a lesser film, yet you're swept along without questioning it.

The Great
In addition to maintaining a breathless pace throughout, Cavaye orchestrates several thrilling chase sequences (a subway chase is a particular highlight), exciting gunfights and some nail-bitingly tense stand-offs; he also pulls off one of those brilliantly shocking moments that comes out of nowhere and will leave the entire audience gasping.

Worth seeing?
Point Blank is one of the best thrillers of the year, thanks to exciting, fast-paced direction, a great script and terrific performances. Why can’t Hollywood make thrillers like this anymore? And more to the point, why aren't British directors trying to make films like this?

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Content updated: 23/10/2017 07:05

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