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French Twist of Fate

MOVIE REVIEW
Point Blank (2010)

Point-blank-à-bout-portant-gilles-lellouche-elena-anaya
Magnolia Pictures

Fred Cavayé’s directorial feature debut “Anything for Her” was so primed for Hollywood that our own Alan Diment presciently predicted a remake starring Russell Crowe. But what was reportedly a slick, nail-biting thriller landed in the hands of Paul Haggis and turned into a dud called “The Next Three Days.” Its dismal performance at the box office likely meant that the American audience would never get to see the original, and that Hollywood wouldn’t jump to remake Mr. Cavayé’s next film, “Point Blank.” On the upside, the new film does have American distribution.

“Point Blank” gives you a pretty good idea about what “Anything for Her” was like and what “The Next Three Days” could have been. It’s the same tale of an ordinary man resorting to desperate measures in desperate times. The day after resuscitating comatose murder suspect Sartet (Roschdy Zem) following an attempt on his life, nursing assistant Samuel (Gilles Lellouche) faces a home invader who kidnaps his very pregnant wife (Elena Anaya). In exchange for her return, Samuel must evade the police guard and help Sartet escape — which more or less sums up the first 10 minutes.

There’s misdirection so early on in “Point Blank” that, if you dwell on it long enough, you can construe it as a gaping plot hole. But chances are you won’t, because the escalating stakes will have you suspend any disbelief and completely overlook the story’s growing implausibility. In fact, the film is so packed with action that you probably won’t even wonder for a second whether l’acteur fraçais du jour Mr. Lellouche is at all effective here — all he does is run around, catch his breath and throw up. “Point Blank” is loads of fun, if not exceptionally clever or original. Maybe if Mr. Cavayé’s Hollywood ending wasn’t visible from a mile away, the experience would be more nerve-wracking and exhilarating.

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