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"Point Blank": Rousing, Economical French Thriller Pulls No Punches 

Wednesday, Aug 10 2011
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Point Blank, a French action film that has nothing to do with the 1967 (and highly Frenchified) John Boorman flick of the same name, opens with a bang: An apparent burglar (Roschdy Zem) running from the scene of an office break-in gone wrong. Zem is chased by a pair of hit men over the rooftops and through the catacombs of "downtown" Paris, to be saved for the moment when a providential car accident lands him — wham! — in the hospital. A male nurse trainee (Gilles Lellouche) is the injured burglar's next angel, but no good deed goes unpunished in former fashion photographer Fred Cavayé's cunningly contrived, energetically directed, thoroughly economical second feature. Within hours, the nurse's very pregnant wife (Elena Anaya) is abducted by the bad guys and, suffice it to say, the everyman nurse finds himself in one ultrahairy situation, compelled to do battle with warring cliques of cops and gangsters, the clock ticking loudly, in order to save his wife and their unborn child — kept on ice, literally, in a suitably ominous meatpacking plant. A wildly improbable adrenaline-pumper, replete with fierce shoot-outs, mad metro chases, and one very tough delivery, Point Blank leaves Paris littered with corpses while sparing few principals from a spattering of blood. This unpretentiously effective cliché fest could (and surely will) be profitably remade in the U.S. shot for shot — perhaps even with Zem, whose tragic presence gives the movie a semblance of soul.

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J. Hoberman

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