Cinema/TV, Film Notes

Film review – A Bout Portant (Point Blank)

My notes on the French thriller.

A solid, exciting mid-list action thriller – because it’s in French with sub-titles, it seems less cheerfully trashy than the average American example of the genre, but it plays as fast and barely-plausible as any thick-ear picture (say, Shoot ‘Em Up or Crank).  It’s the sort of movie where an early scene in which a pregnant woman (the very beautiful Elana Anaya, of Hierro) complains when she is told by a doctor that she needs six weeks of bed-rest before delivery clearly indicates that she’s going to have to put up with a lot of energetic action and peril before (inevitably) going into labour at the worst possible moment (a riot in a police station with a corrupt cop eager to throw her out of a window and call it suicide).  Safecracker Sartet (Roschdy Zem) is being pursued by thugs out to kill him when he’s sideswiped by a motorcycle and whisked off to hospital.  Trainee nurse Samuel (Gilles Lellouche), husband of the knocked-up Nadia (Anaya) thwarts an attempt to kill Sartet in his hospital bed, but then Nadia is kidnapped by a mystery man who threatens to kill her unless he spirits Sartet – who has just been tagged as involved in the recent murder of a tycoon – out of hospital before the cops realise who he is.


The ordinary man under duress becomes a resourceful action hero, determined to save his wife and improvising wildly through traps, chases and perils – this theme has cropped up several times in recent French thrillers, including Le Serpent and director Fred Cavaye’s Pour Elle – but there’s also a surprise a third of the way in that takes it into paranoid conspiracy territory (hint: not all flics are trustworthy), and a nice, understated growing bond between the regular guy and the outlaw (having made a fuss about being in this only to save his wife, Samuel has a tiny moment of wordless shame when he realises Sartet hasn’t even mentioned that an incidental character tortured to death by the villains was his brother).  It has that bluish look of a lot of recent thrillers, and the cast keep it grounded in real emotion even when it’s being almost laughably blatant (the mcguffin recording of the baddies committing a murder and taking a bribe is ostentatiously staged) – though, again being French, there are tiny little moments of shrugged great acting that resonate (a shot of the face of the honest female cop as she realises what the guy she’s been chasing has just gone through is a perfect last frame – though it’s followed by a slightly too neat coda tying everything up.


One thought on “Film review – A Bout Portant (Point Blank)

  1. Patrick Marcel Exoticism will do that every time. ^_____^

    Sean Greenwood But you’re not answering the important questions, Kim, like, how much female nudity and sex is there? If the answer is not “a disturbingly gratuitous amount”, then I do not import and the film will not bear my express seal of approval. 😛

    Posted by kimnewman | June 2, 2017, 1:05 pm

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