Thursday, 16 June 2011

Point Blank (À Bout Portant)

Point Blank (or, to give it its French name, Pwan Blonc) was given a limited release last Friday, and by the time you read this will probably have been consigned to the smallest screen of an independent cinema 37 miles away from where you live, so I thought I'd better say something about it before it gets trampled by the mighty Ryan Rodney Reynolds and his absolutely amazing / unspeakably shit (take a guess) Green Lantern.

Point Blank is one of those thrillers Johnny French does so well. I'm not sure why every other country in the world (apart from maybe South Korea) has forgotten how to make taut, tense action films like this, but if everyone could just stop what they're doing and have a look at stuff like this, Tell No One and Mesrine, then maybe we wouldn't have to deal with stuff like, ooh, let's say, Green Lantern quite so often.

The story of an innocent man who has to rely on the help of a criminal when his wife is kidnapped by corrupt cops, Point Blank takes about as much time to explain its premise as it did for you to read this sentence. In fact the whole plot is pretty much distilled into this single shot from the trailer:
Spoiler: He gets trouble.

For the next 80 minutes it barrels through as much action as it can squeeze in, with another shootout, chase or fight scene coming along approximately every twelve seconds. And while the action is undeniably spectacular (an early incident with a motorbike made me do that sharp-intake-of-breath-through-clenched-teeth thing), that's all there really is. Exposition is rushed through lest it get in the way of someone jumping out of a window, and the characters are stencilled in from the Big Book Of Movie Clichés.

None of that really matters though: like a shark, Point Blank has to keep moving or it'll die, as is proven by the slightly rubbish coda. It's slickly directed, masterfully edited, solidly acted by its leads and supporting cast and provides an hour and a half of instantly forgettable entertainment. Expect a remake starring Liam Neeson within the next ten minutes.


  1. For once Hollywood got there first with 'Grosse Point Blank'(1997) with John Cusack and Minnie Driver. In this case it is a hit man trying to have a guiet rest from his sniper rifle, "I don't want any trouble I'm just attending a school reunion". Which tells you all you need to know. It is well worth seeing if you get the chance.

  2. Marge Gunderson17 June 2011 at 12:53

    Your point that it's all action and not much else is a good one, it's still heaps better than most Hollywood thrillers though.
    I too was shocked by that motorbike scene, and felt exhausted watching the foot chase through the metro which was so skillfully directed! Great stuff, glad I caught it on the big screen.