Point Blank (2011)

THE SCOOP
Director: Fred Cavaye
Cast: Gilles Lellouche, Roschdy Zem, & Gerard Lanvin
Plot: Samuel Pierret is a nurse who saves the wrong guy - a thief whose henchmen take Samuel's pregnant wife  hostage to force him to spring their boss from the hospital.

Genre: Action/Crime/Thriller 
Awards: -
Runtime: 84min
Rating: NC16 for strong violence and some language.





IN RETROSPECT
You know what you get when a film is an action crime-thriller, runs at a tight 84 minutes, and is made by the French. You get excited. And rest assured the filmmakers will keep you in that state for the entire length of their film. Directed by Fred Cavaye, Point Blank is his second feature after his promising debut Anything for Her, also a crime-thriller, in 2008.

There are no known stars to pull the crowds in, but a quick glance at the film's plot outline is likely to hook you: A nurse intervenes to save a patient from suffocating to death after a mystery person tries to kill the latter in the hospital one night, only to find out that his pregnant wife has been kidnapped the next morning. To save his wife, he is forced to get the patient out of the hospital in three hours.

What appears to be a standard case of kidnapping turns out to be far more sinister. Point Blank is as much an action-thriller as it is a critique of corruption at the highest levels of a government entity, in this case, the French police force. This is best shown in the climatic third act, a highly-charged sequence set in a building that houses hundreds of officers.

When a female police officer (under the orders of a corrupted head) is determined to throw a pregnant woman out of a window to kill her, you know you are dealing with some really psychotic people. Evil lurks even in the most safest of places, something Samuel (Gilles Lellouche) the nurse will find out, as he tries to rescue his wife (and unborn child) from very nasty people out to protect their reputation.

Point Blank is edge-of-your-seat stuff. It is violent, gritty, and oozes so much suspense that there are few opportunities to catch your breath. It is a strong genre exercise by Cavaye, whose flair for capturing the immediacy of the film's action will not go unnoticed. More importantly, Cavaye makes us care for the lead protagonist, hence any perceived injustice towards Samuel (and whoever related to him) is likely to make our blood boil.

Watching Point Blank reminds me slightly of The Assault (2011), another French action-thriller, but is based on a true story of an armed Islamic group holding a couple of hundred passengers hostage in a plane on the grounds of Algiers in 1994. Both films are taut, well-paced, and are good examples of what the French could do with the genre.

Verdict: A thriller genre exercise by the French that is tight, taut and riveting. 

GRADE: B+
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