There is a French film called, “Point Blank” that finally came to the United States from Europe. The movie opened here in Los Angeles at the chain of independent “Laemmle” theatres in the summer of 2011. While everyone went to see the big budget films like, “Pirates of the Caribbean: on stranger tides.” I went instead to see this French movie with English subtitles. It has become my favorite movie of 2011 so far.
The film opens with a desperate man running from two other men carrying guns. This man is hit by fast moving traffic on a busy street in Paris. The two killers withdraw their guns as an ambulance arrives and the injured man is taken to the hospital. Who is he? Who were those men chasing him? All we know is that the injured man was in a lot of trouble.
Enter Samuel Pierret who works in a Paris hospital. He is studying to become a male nurse and is assigned to watch over the hospital room along side the injured man. Samuel accidentally interrupts an unknown visitor attempting to kill the injured patient. The visitor flees the hospital as Samuel jumps into action to save the unknown male. Samuel is thanked for saving the man’s life after getting scolded for not calling the registered nurse on duty.
The Paris police detectives arrive at the hospital. The injured patient turned out to be a guy named Hugo Sartet. He is a small time criminal who is also a thief. The detectives order around the clock protection for Hugo. Samuel returns home feeling like a hero to his lovely and pregnant wife Nadia Pierret. She is ordered by her doctor to bed rest as the birth of her baby approaches.
An unknown male enters the apartment while Samuel is making dinner for Nadia. She screams and Samuel is knocked down bleeding on the living room floor. As he loses consciousness Samuel watches Nadia struggling with the unknown male. A few hours later, he awakes to find his wife gone and a cell phone lying next to his body. That phone rings as Samuel knocks himself back into reality. He answers the cell and an unknown male voice is heard on the other end. He tells Samuel that he only has a few hours to help Hugo or he will never see his wife again.
A lot has happened to Samuel in just a blink of an eye. What does he do? Who does he turn to? How is he going to get his wife back? He has never been in a situation like this in his entire life. After all, he was only studying to become a nurse. Samuel realizes that no one can help him and in the moment thinks about only saving his wife. He takes action by getting Hugo out of that hospital. Samuel commits his very first crime with an assault on a police officer. The movie then goes into over drive with non-stop action and surprises.
A lot happens from then on to Samuel, Nadia, Hugo, the detectives and a popular Paris government official. This film is compared to Liam Neeson’s “Taken” and the “Jason Bourne” action thriller movies. What is different here is that the plot surrounds an ordinary man who works at an ordinary job. He is thrust into the underground world of crime in Paris and gathers the courage to get out of it by his natural instincts.
The rumor is that “Point Blank” will be remade in the U.S. with a big name actor like Matt Damon. The film won critical praise in Europe, but U.S. critics gave it mixed reviews. Fans of the film are cheering it as one of the best of 2011. I happen to agree and it is my top pick so far this year.
According to the “Deadline Hollywood” blog. Ben Affleck is in talks to direct the remake of another French film, “Tell No One” 2008. It was also about an ordinary man trapped in a tough situation. That film landed on my top ten-list of favorite films of 2008.