Review: Point Blank

Back in the old days, criminals used to have a code – leave the women and children out of it. Thriller writers, though, have never held to such a convention and I always dread the moment when they stoop to having a child or wife hauled off as a hostage in order to force the protagonist to act.

This French film goes all out – the baddies don't just kidnap the hero's wife, they kidnap his heavily pregnant wife, the heavily pregnant wife who has been told by the doctor that her pregnancy is so delicate she shouldn't get out of bed for the remaining six weeks.

If she'd just been snatched and then left quietly in a room for the duration, it could be overlooked. But the story insists on dragging her into the action and there are only so many things you can bear to watch a woman with a cushion stuffed up her top do in the name of entertainment.

The first thing it has going for it is that it's in no way, shape or form a remake of the classic Lee Marvin film. It's fast, pumped-up, to the point and really packs its short running time full with incidents.

The spiralling plot about an innocent nurse sucked into a maelstrom of hitmen, corruption and murder is ludicrous and logic-defying, but the filmmakers and actors play it like it could be real.

Fred Cavaye's previous film was For Her (remade with Russell Crowe as The Next Three Days) and his latest is in the mode of modern French thrillers such as Tell No One: glossy, improbably plotted crowd pleasers shot through with a streak of gritty realism.

This has most of the elements you expect of the French thriller, a breathless chase through a subway, menacing baldies, the odd moment of wince-inducing violence and even just a touch of parkour.

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There is something of the Die Hard in its ordinary guy in the wrong place at the wrong time plot that forces a trainee nurse (Gilles Lellouche) to do all kind of outrageous acts. There may be a franchise in it and, in 20 years' time, when he is being resurrected for a fourth instalment, things might have escalated to the point where we see him as a fully qualified nurse bringing down a helicopter with a patient trolley.


Director: Fred Cavaye

With: Gilles Lellouche, Roschdy Zem, Gerard

Lanvin, Elena Anaya, Mirielle Perrier

Length: 85 mins