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Short Takes: Point Blank

By Laura Kern

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Point Blank

Thanks to Paul Haggis’s remake, The Next Three Days, Fred Cavayé’s 2008 debut feature, Anything for Her, remains unseen by U.S. audiences. But fortunately the French writer-director’s follow-up, Point Blank, will hit theaters before its inevitable Hollywood makeover, a redundant endeavor, considering this version is already as mainstream as they get—and as supremely entertaining.

Both of Cavayé’s films feature ordinary men pushed to extremes in efforts to save their wives. In the first, a teacher risks all to spring his wrongly imprisoned wife. In the second, a nurse-in-training’s very pregnant wife is kidnapped as collateral for a man whose life he saves one fateful nightshift—setting off an exhilarating, high-speed race against the clock. With little room for character development, the impeccable cast still manages to work wonders: Frenchman of the Hour Gilles Lellouche convincingly improvises as action hero, Gérard Lanvin chews it up amusingly as the epitome of police corruption, and Roschdy Zem leaves the most lasting impression as the resuscitated patient, a noble badass worthy of his own movie franchise. 

Point Blank is saddled with the same title as John Boorman’s 1967 masterpiece, but the only thing the two films really have in common is coolness. And coolest of all, the women—the pregnant wife and the good and bad cops alike—are just as tough as their male counterparts, if not tougher.

© 2011 by The Film Society of Lincoln Center

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