Beginning with a foot chase, Point Blank is a film that grabs you from the very first frame and never lets go.
Gilles Lellouche plays Samuel, a nurse whose pregnant wife Nadia (Elena Anaya) has been ordered to stay off her feet for the last six weeks of her pregnancy lest their baby be born prematurely. At this point, I should note that recent criticism has been aimed at lazy characterisations in action movies, and in particular at The Raid. An established action movie trope is for the hero to have a pregnant wife – this apparently being enough to let audience know that he is a ‘good guy’ – despite not being a mandatory attribute for impregnation. In this case, however, the inclusion is justified because Nadia plays a pivotal role in the film.
When Nadia is kidnapped, those responsible demand that Samuel escort an injured patient who is currently under police guard out of the hospital. Thus begins a race against time as Samuel finds himself up against the law, crooked cops and straight-out crooks in an effort to save his wife.
It all sounds pretty so-so, but you must realise that Point Blank really drives home the sense of desperation behind our hero’s actions. When he was forced to make split second decisions that would have huge ramifications, I was literally on the edge of my seat. The film plays out as a kind of a cross between Run Lola Run (Lola Rennt) and The Bourne Identity, and I can’t overemphasise the effectiveness of the action captured on screen.
Despite the frantic and often seemingly improvised nature of the action scenes, stunt coordinator Gilles Conseil and cinematographer Alain Duplantier have no trouble whatsoever capturing everything we need to see. Unlike the Bourne sequels, the film never fell into the same hand-held trap that Mark loves to complain about.
The narrative isn’t without fault. I’m unashamed to say I only just managed to keep up – there’s a lot of information that rushes by within the briefest of exposition – and more than once my disbelief required extra suspension. There isn’t much in the way of character development, either. But Point Blank’s trick is to not give you enough breathing space to ponder too long. If you’re after an explosive, efficient thriller cum action movie, this is the one.
Point Blank is available now on DVD from Madman.Rating: