Point Blank opens at a frantic pace. Unknown men run in a stairwell, spilling onto the street and into a tunnel. Random cars and motorcycles get involved, too. Then, but for a few brief establishing scenes, the film never lets up for the next 80 minutes. Not since Run Lola Run has running for one's life been so literally integral to a film's momentum and purpose.
Point Blank is a French action thriller about an innocent man who has no time to do anything but react to his situation - and run, defend himself and occasionally leap from tall buildings. This is Fred Cavayé's second feature; the first was Pour Elle, which was remade in America as The Next Three Days, starring Russell Crowe. (You don't have to look too closely to see the words "Hollywood remake" stamped all over Point Blank.) I don't know anything about Cavayé's personal life, but if he has a wife, she should feel extremely secure. Her husband repeatedly makes movies about husbands who move heaven and earth to rescue their imperiled spouses.
Gilles Lellouche is this film's Everyman hero, Samuel, a nurse's aide who has the misfortune of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Into his ward comes the roadkill survivor of the opening sequence. Samuel revives the patient after a fleeing visitor detaches his breathing tube; for this he is punished by his patient's would-be killers with a home invasion that leaves him knocked unconscious and his pregnant wife Nadia (Elena Anaya) abducted.
Revived by a ringing cell phone, Samuel is instructed to immediately release the patient (who is now under police guard) if he wants to see his wife alive again. The film frenzy renews with an adrenaline shot to a patient named Sartet (played with a charismatic glare by Roschdy Zem). Together, the two are off and running, getting chased by two separate police units - one of them crooked and the other honest.
The details don't matter. Although a few bits are head-scratchers, the viewer has as little time as Samuel to pause for puzzlement. Point Blank passes enjoyably, relentlessly and determinedly to the moment of its final gasp.