Thursday, March 29, 2012

Netflix This: Point Blank

     We all know the story: a wife or child is kidnapped for uncertain reasons. The man--a husband, father or brother--left behind has a specific set of skills, skills that the bad guys (usually stereotypical middle-eastern-looking men) will come to know all too well. But in Point Blank, the French film from last year where excitement trumps sanity and plausibility at every plot twist, the man trying to find his loved one, his almost-eight-months-pregnant-and-supposed-to-be-bedridden wife, isn't an ex-CIA agent who can destroy you with his hand-to-hand combat skills or 9mm marksmanship. No, he's just a low-end nurse whose luckiness seems to get him out of every unlucky situation.
     I stated that the excitement of Point Blank trumps its plausibility. This is a film that moves at breakneck speed soon after the opening credits. At only 84 minutes long, it has to. Samuel is a nurse working the night shift at a hospital. His wife, Nadia, is pregnant and on bed rest, though she doesn't want to be. When a mysterious patient is admitted to Sam's floor, and a man shows up (dressed as a doctor) and cuts the patient's breathing tube and then runs for unknown reasons, Sam saves the man's life and goes home after his shift. Unfortunately, Sam has been followed home. The next morning, as he yawns and walks out of the bedroom, he gets hit over the head and knocked unconscious. He wakes to find his pregnant wife has been kidnapped. He gets only one instruction by cellphone. Get the mysterious patient out of the hospital alive, by whatever means possible.
     This movie is like Crank if Crank wasn't the cinematic equivalent of a smelly sack of dog shit. Samuel runs into trouble at every single turn, and the stakes are escalated to involve robbers, safe-breakers, dangerous criminals, a very good detective, a very bad detective, and--finally--much of the entire police department and rioting city. It's insane. It's violent. And a whole hell of a lot doesn't make a particularly lot of logical sense, but you won't care less if you're in the mood for a short, kick-ass story about a man just trying to save the ones that he loves.
     Every situation evolves into the next with tension and insanity. How the hell is he going to get out of this one, you'll be asking under your breath. Unpredictability is key in a film like this, and it plays the viewer just as successfully as the cat-and-mouse chase scenes are played out on screen. One of my often-checked film sites has stated that an American remake is in the works, and I surely don't doubt it. Knowing American remakes, it will be a worse version of the story with less excitement. There will also be no subtitles, so people won't have to (God Forbid!) read. Do yourself a favor: watch this version, the only version available now, to get an 84-minute shot of adrenaline.

(Available on Netflix Instant)

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