Saturday, 11 June 2011

Point Blank - Dir. Fred Cavaye

In 2008, Fred Cavaye’s directorial debut ‘Anything for Her,’ was both critically and commercially successful to the point that it was instantly bought up by an American production company and released within two years in 2010 under the title ‘The Next Three Days’. This year he returns with another crime-thriller, ‘Point Blank’ (‘A Bout Portant’), a fast-paced, chase-centric, Besson-esque film, which had the potential to add something new to the genre, but instead fell into the same-old, safe trap of regurgitating the old, rather than attempting something new.

Samuel Pierret (Gilles Lellouche) is happily married to his wife Nadia (Elena Anaya) who is seven and a half months pregnant, while he works in a Paris hospital and within a matter of weeks he will take his nurses exam. However, when he saves a mystery patients life (Roschdy Zem) for a brief moment he is seen as a hero until it is revealed that the patient is a wanted criminal, and Samuel’s life begins to fall apart as he told he must break the unconscious prisoner out of hospital or he will never see his wife again. With his pregnant wife kidnapped, he is framed for various crimes he did not commit and he must fight both sides of the law as he flees through Paris with only one thought on his mind; the safety of his wife and unborn child. ‘Point Blank’ is a relatively generic crime-thriller which spans a modest eighty-four minutes. The action sequences are fast, fluid and uncompromising just like the antagonists of the piece. While the main protagonist in the nurse Samuel and his hostage, the criminal gangster Sartet, play their roles perfectly, but where the film falls flat is in its failure to reward their effort.

Little attempt is made to place any depth into the various characters employed in the story, we know the basic motivations behind the main protagonists and antagonists, but nothing else is revealed beyond that. They simply become, despite the actors efforts to place some characterisation in place, caricatures of the stereotypical roles used in the majority of distinctly average crime-thrillers that are released today. Also this is a fault in tandem with the film’s running time, eighty-four minutes in length doesn’t provide enough screen-time for the audience to become accustomed, recognised and relatable to the characters on-screen nor does it allow enough time for the narrative to slowly unravel itself. Instead during the final act various motives and side-stories are bounded about with diminutive conviction and this detracts away from an already non-existent central plot. Cavaye’s second feature-length film is a competent effort that simply lacks any innovation or speciality; instead it falls into the same old trap of relying on generic conventions that make it an average crime-thriller at best.
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