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Review: Point Blank

In most action movies, you can expect for the hero to have some kind of "tough guy" job. He'll probably be a cop, a bounty hunter or maybe even a Navy Seal or something else along those lines. The French film Point Blank takes a different approach and has their protagonist dreaming of a job that you wouldn't normally associate with an action hero. This dude wants to be a nurse.

Samuel Pierret (Gilles Lellouche) is an aspiring nurse who has a pregnant wife (Elena Anaya) at home and about to give birth soon. After returning home on a night where he saved someone's life at the hospital, he finds himself in a state of desperation and fear when his wife gets kidnapped. He learns that a criminal named Sartet (Roschdy Zem) may be involved in the kidnapping when he gets a mysterious phone call. The person on the other line tells Samuel that he has to do what he's directed to do in order to see his wife alive again. Samuel agrees and suddenly finds himself in the middle of illegal activities with cops and criminals on both sides coming after him.

I didn't know what I was going to get by watching this movie and I put off seeing it for a long time. My faith in the French action genre had taken a hit after viewing some of the movies from this genre. I'm being nice when I say the one's that I had seen before this were rather boring and uneventful. I finally chose to take a look at Point Blank one night when I didn't have much to do, and I felt like taking in an a short action that I had never seen before.

Giving it a chance turned out to be good for me, because I got exactly what I was hoping for and a little bit more than that. This is certainly an action packed flick, but it largely depends on the suspense that the movie includes. The film's energy and personality is created by the frantic pace that is set early on and it consist of constant movement, relentless levels of angst and the overall point of not knowing everything from the outset.

The actual action scenes take a back seat to all of the other aspects of this suspenseful thriller. The shootouts, fights and other acts of violence are certainly good, but none of it ever really stacks up to the rest of the action and anticipation that go along with the twists and turns that the viewers will experience here. Those elements are so important to Point Blank that I even forgot about the guy's future aspirations and all of that stuff, because I was completely focused on the actual story that's being told.

Like the rest of the movie, the end of Point Blank is filled with suspense. It does however suffer from a flaw. The ending isn't as good as I had hoped and it didn't stand up to the rest of the film. I took issue with the film's climax, because it's simply implausible. That hurt the movie a bit for me and I didn't score it as high as I wanted to because of it. I will say that the ending isn't bad and it's even better if you suspend your use of common sense and you just ignore the fact that you know that what happens is almost impossible.

I also feel the need to point out the fact that this is another recent movie that uses the shaky camera technique. This technique has numerous appearances in several movies since it was popularized by The Bourne Identity back in 2002. You can say that it's overdone and overused these and that may be true to some degree. With that being said, I do believe that the shaky cam can still be utilized and put to good use if done correctly and under the right circumstances.

Point Blank uses the shaky cam the way that it should be used. It's done in a couple of scenes and they're into service properly and are barely noticeable. If directors are going to continue to use things like this to add more intensity to their scenes in film, this would be the way to do it. In this movie you can always tell what's going on when everything is shaking and it never gets in the way for the simple fact that it's not being abused or used in excess.

Despite me having some issues with the ending, I loved Point Blank as a whole. Having a fast paced action movie filled with suspense, conspiracies and mystery will always be something that I'd be willing to pay attention to. This is a movie that I foolishly underestimated going in. I gave it a chance and I'd say that I was actually rewarded with a quality action thriller that I wish was a little longer than it is.

Score: 3.5/5

Rating: R

Director: Fred Cavayé

Gilles Lellouche
Roschdy Zem
Gérard Lanvin
Elena Anaya
Mireille Perrier
Claire Perot

Film Length: 84 minutes

Release Date: July 29, 2011

Gaumont (France)
Magnolia Pictures (US)

Country: France

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