Point Blank (2010) - Can't Stop the Movies
Can't Stop the Movies
10Jan/122

Point Blank (2010)

Sometimes a well-worn tale told well can make for a very good and enjoyable film.  A film that fits these criteria to a 't' is the new French thriller, Point Blank.  Clocking in at around 80 minutes, it is lean, mean and it moves like a bullet fired from a gun.

The movie is in motion from the first second, when the viewer is thrown into a chase already in progress.  Some very shadowy looking individuals are after an unknown man (Roschdy Zem) for unknown reasons.  The man is about to be shot when he inadvertently causes a traffic jam and is rushed to the hospital.

Around this same time, Samuel (Gilles Lellouche), a nurse in training at the hospital, is starting his shift at the same hospital.   When he saves the unknown man’s life from the folks trying to knock him off, he is thrown into the middle of the cat and mouse game.  Problems only get worse for Samuel as henchman kidnap Samuel’s very pregnant wife to force Samuel to sneak the man out of the hospital.

From here, problem after problem pile up on poor Samuel and the thief, whose name you learn is Hugo.  In a very short time they are branded cop killers, hunted down by good and evil men alike and try to stay alive long enough to save Samuel’s wife.

Point Blank does not have the deepest of plots and many of the characters you know just enough about to further said plot.  Nothing is really known about anybody or anything that does not further the momentum in the story and no one watching the film will mind.

That is because the film is in perpetual motion from the first few seconds until the end.  The viewer is thrown into the film in the middle of the chase without knowing who is chasing whom or for what reason.  After this initial opening action scene is completed, the movie takes its one and only breath to introduce the audience to Samuel and his wife Elena.  Her pregnancy is troubled and she is supposed to take it easy and relax in order not to harm the baby, something the viewer knows is not going to happen.  Once the film sets up that he is a nurse in training, his wife has a dangerous pregnancy and Hugo is under his care, the movie ramps up once again.

Did we know the French cloned a young Robert De Niro for their films?

The movie should be commended for knowing what it was and making the best, most tension-filled film that it could.  Many thrillers are only thrilling in bursts and are filled out with a lot of moments that are needlessly quieter; Point Blank doesn’t do this.  Samuel might get out of one situation but is immediately in a worse one.  He gets Hugo out of the hospital only to find out he was too late in rescuing his wife from her first captors.  They go from “persons of interest” to the most hunted men in all of France after they are framed as cop killers and by, the end of the film, they have to sneak into the police precinct of the cops hunting them down.

The movie reminded me of the end of a Tetris game where all the bricks are falling faster and faster and the screen is filling up with them quicker and quicker until the breaking point. The movie keeps adding these bricks, whether they are chases, bad guys, plots all well past that breaking point.

By the time the film reaches the climax and there are three different action beats with three different main characters happening at the same time.  This film gripped me and I was smiling at how well the film balanced all the craziness happing.

There was a lot of running in this film.

With all the action and frenzy of the film, it would have been very simple to copy the Bourne movies’ style and have quick, jarring and close up edits for the action.  Thankfully the film resists this temptation and the action is always easy to follow.  Spatially, the viewer always knows where they are and what is happening with the action, even better they also know where everyone else is and the filmmakers almost create a chessboard with all the various characters in their precise spots.

In the end, the movie really won me over with its style.  The movie was a quick 80-minute trip that will entertain even the most jaded of movie watchers.  Point Blank is the scrappy little movie that will surprise you and leave you breathless.

Posted by Ryan

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  1. I was really pumped for this and had heard so many good things, I think my expectations got the better of me. I liked it, but I wasn’t all that impressed. I thought a lot of the editing was questionably done, especially in the climax where it’s cross-cutting between the three characters. Good review though, and I’m definitely in the minority. Everyone else seems to love it.

    • I thought the editing was one of the strong points of the film. I am just glad that it wasn’t another movie that used the frantic shaky cam and choppy editing for the action scenes. High expectations are always a killer, I have been there myself recently.


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