Point Blank [À bout portant] (2011)

Starring Gilles Lellouche, Roschdy Zem, Gérard Lanvin, Elena Anaya, Mireille Perrier, Claire Perot, Moussa Maaskri, Pierre Benoist, Valérie Dashwood, Virgile Bramly, Nicky Naude

Directed by Fred Cavayé

Expectations: Pretty high, I’ve heard great things.

Point Blank sets out to make a high-octane, high-stakes thriller where an innocent man gets dragged into the middle of a web of corrupt cops and hardened criminals when his pregant wife is kidnapped. A film like this, with a slim eighty-four minute runtime, should fly by in a flash of excitement and gritty violence. Unfortunately, while Point Blank has its share of great moments, it’s more characterized by its inability to string these together flawlessly. With a story this simple and clichéd, the execution has to be perfect, but instead I found myself watching a cascade of moderately impressive action/chase sequences that I was emotionally disconnected from and I’m having a hard time remembering now, only a few days later.

So yeah, storywise this is remarkably simple, although it’s told in such a way that the viewer must unravel some of the more intricate plot points. The only thing is, when these are unraveled they are so incredibly clichéd and telegraphed that it’s neither a shock or very interesting. While watching Point Blank, I couldn’t escape the fact that I had seen this all done before and in films both better and more interesting. Look at Taken, for instance, a movie that shares many plot points and a very similar, short runtime. Taken never lets up the suspense and the dire situation of getting to Liam Neeson’s daughter as quick as possible is ever-present. In Point Blank, the husband is at the mercy of the people he’s with at the moment and there are large sections of the film where he must deal with the situation at hand, with both the character and the audience knowing that he’s getting no closer to his wife. Yeah… not so exciting.

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