Although the individual chase sequences don't match "Bullitt" or "The French Connection" for thrilling action, the overall effect of "Point Blank" leaves a viewer staggering from the sheer impact. The French movie, which opens today, is practically a single, 84-minute chase, and the cumulative effect is simply amazing.
Director and co-writer Fred Cavaye shows a scintillating grasp of timing and camera angles, and a backdrop of Paris makes the multiplicity of chases, in subways, in cars, on foot that much more exciting.
It's a simple little story. Samuel (Gilles Lellouche) is a nursing student in a Paris hospital. His wife, Nadia (Elena Anaya) is pregnant.
He's working one night when a bad guy named Hugo (a terrific job by Roschdy Zem) is admitted and lands under Gilles' care. Another bad guy -- there are so many in this movie it's sometimes difficult to keep track of them -- pulls the plug on Hugo but Samuel reacts in time and saves him. Still another kidnaps Samuel's wife and threatens to kill her if he doesn't cooperate. Cooperation, of course, means allowing them to kill Hugo. Samuel grabs Hugo by the gurney and flees. Two rival policemen each lead a squad after Gilles, as do several other rival gangs. Everyone is chasing someone else, but most of the chasers are after Samuel and Hugo.
Cavaye has a splendid touch with tension and speed; the chase scenes include the hospital, of course, and also the streets and the subways of Paris. It doesn't always make perfect sense, of course, but that's all right. Cavaye will keep you on the edge of your seat. Fast-paced and exciting, "Point Blank" is a very good movie.
Point Blak opens today at the Plaza Frontenac