Point Blank is an extremely intense action film by director Fred Cavayé (and co-scripted with Guillaume Lemans) that hooks you the moment the film begins. An injured, unidentified man is being chased by two tough looking men armed with pistols. This extraordinary chase takes you down stairwells, in dark alleyways and underpasses. He pauses in the middle of a seemingly deserted freeway. Just when you think he was safe, the two men chasing him catch up to him—then, in a split instant, he is smacked and seriously injured by a speeding car.
The pace changes when the film cuts to Samuel (Lellouche), a nursing student, and his heavily pregnant wife Nadia (Elena Anaya) having an ultrasound scan. Sam was asking the doctor was sure the baby was a girl and not a boy, in an adorably moderate tone. The two head home before he began his shift at the hospital.
When he checks in at his shift at the hospital, he is given a brief description of who his patients are for the evening—including the strange, wounded man who rests in a coma. One of Sam’s patients was on the nurse call light again, and when he bent over to look for whatever it was the patient dropped, he noticed that someone was in the room occupied by the coma patient—an assassin, who has just cut the breathing apparatus then ran off when he is found out. Sam initiated CPR which saved the patient’s life. The police are called; and we soon discover that the unconscious man is Hugo Sartet (Zem), a wanted criminal.
This is when the film’s edgy pace increases: Sam’s wife is kidnapped. In order to get her back safely, he has to move Sartet from the hospital and bring him to a secret rendezvous point—or else his wife dies. Sam immediately begins to find himself caught-up in the dark and mysterious underworld of corrupt police, business men, and hardened criminals. All are connected; all are out to get him. Sam is obsessed with saving his wife, even if it means he has to become a wanted fugitive himself.
The film is more of an extended chase in that the moment you see the opening scene, the action begins. It isn’t until the near end of the film, that the circle of corrupted cops begin to reveal themselves. Instead, you are convinced that the problem with finding Sam and Hugo, the runaway fugitives, seem to rest in the high tension between two rival police commanders Werner (Lanvin) and Fabre (Mireille Perrier). Fabre investigative efforts is consistently passed to Werner, when it is mainly her detective work that reveal the motive and connections behind both Sam’s actions; finding his kidnapped wife; and the attempted assassination on Hugo’s might be connected to the death of a wealthy businessman.
The events that occur during the film gives us just enough details to navigate the story. The focus remains on Sam finding his pregnant wife. Cavayé also took us into the criminal underbelly, where Hugo has to ask for help in clearing his newly found friend, Sam, who is also being pursued by the malicious cops. Everyone is out to get them both, and to get out of the frenzy of events, is to become a team: “the enemy, of my enemy, is my friend.“
The DVD special features include a behind-the-scenes documentary on how the film was made. I advise not watching the documentary until after you’ve watched the film. Director Fred Cavayé takes you into the dark wards of the hospital and into the seedy corridors of Paris, where he energetically films the actors enduring many of their own stunts in the film. He also discusses his inspirations and methods behind some of the film sequences in the film. The documentary is just as exhilarating as watching the movie itself. In the end you will appreciate all the effort that went into making Point Blank.
Point Blank is a brilliant non-stop adrenaline rush, it does not bore you with sobbing romantics plaguing the film. Cavayé cleverly weaves the ‘cops as criminals’ plot–a delicate interplay that leaves enough bits and pieces for viewers to contemplate and try to connect without giving the ending away. Believe me, the ending is indeed a surprise. The only critique I can offer this film is that there are no breaks. Doesn’t sound like much of a critique, but there may be a point during the movie you may want to take a bathroom break, or grab the popcorn out of the microwave, when you are just glued to the screen. There is the pause button–but why would you want to do something as careless as that?
“A desperate man is a dangerous thing.”
Source: Magnolia Pictures