Point Blank [A Bout Portant]


Facts and Figures

Genre: Foreign

Budget: $16M

Production compaines: LGM Productions, Gaumont, TF1 Films Production, K.R. Productions, Nexus Factory, uFilm, Canal+, TPS Star


Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Cast & Crew

Director: Fred Cavaye

Producer: Cyril Colbeau-Justin, Jean-Baptiste Dupont

Starring: as Commandant Patrick Werner, as Hugo Sartet, as Nadia Pierret, as Samuel Pierret

Point Blank [A Bout Portant] Review

Lean and fierce, this French thriller wastes no time getting our adrenaline pumping. It throws us straight into a frantic situation and continually asks us what we'd be willing to do to survive.

Samuel (Lellouche) is a hospital orderly trying to become a qualified nurse just as his wife Nadia (Anaya) has been bed-bound in her last months of pregnancy. Then Hugo (Zem) arrives in the emergency room after a road crash, and everything changes. Nadia is kidnapped, and Samuel finds himself in the middle of a war between criminal thugs and a dirty cop (Lanvin). And the one detective (Perrier) who's trustworthy thinks Samuel's involved in a murder. At this point Samuel realises it's useless to clear his name; he just needs to rescue Nadia.

Besides a few establishing scenes, which efficiently deepen the characters in very little time, the film is structured as a nonstop chase that feels increasingly desperate and hopeless. And Cavaye manages to make each high-risk sequence remarkably believable as Samuel is forced to work with the mysterious criminal Hugo if he has any hope of survival. As played by Lellouche, we can easily identify with him as a guy whose only knowledge about guns comes from watching movies like this one.

This film is so much fun to watch that we barely have time to notice how clever the script and direction are. They seamlessly guide our sympathies, building an almost unbearable level of tension as the stakes get higher, and constantly shock us with sudden, terrifying violence. Many of the most important scenes in the film convey everything without a single line of dialog; it's a striking display of expert acting, directing, camerawork, editing and sound.

Cavaye orchestrates all of this so skilfully that we never mind some of the more outrageous plot turns. He also doesn't waste a single frame of film, throwing everything at us in under 90 minutes, including a brilliantly concise climax and a barbed epilogue. The film may not have much to say beyond making the point that human beings are more resilient than anyone suspects. But it makes that point in a wonderfully entertaining way.