Point Blank (ņ Bout Portant)
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Like many people, I once had a very simple image of the typical foreign film. In my mind, foreign films were long and slow and melodramatic. They were deep and philosophical, and they made very little sense. Generally, they were things to be feared and not enjoyed. I have no knowledge of where I got such a crazy idea, but Iíve found that Iím not alone. Other people (some of whom are very close to me) have this same fear of foreign films. Since Iíve discovered the truth about foreign filmsóthat they can actually be fun and entertaining and excitingóIíve made it my mission to spread the word about entertaining foreign films. So hereís another entry in my collection of Foreign Films for the Phobic: French thriller Point Blank ( ņ Bout Portant).

It wasnít long ago that life was sweet and rosy for Samuel Pierret (Gilles Lellouche). Not only was his wife, Nadia (Elena Anaya), about to give birth to their first child, but he was also close to becoming a nurse. Then he ended up working the wrong shift at the wrong time.

One night, an unidentified man is admitted to the hospital. During his rounds, Samuel sees a mysterious stranger leaving the patientís sideóand when he checks on the patient and discovers that the manís respirator has been cut, he rushes to save his life.

Unfortunately for Samuel, his act of heroism only ends up getting him into trouble. The next morning, heís assaulted in his home, and Nadia is abducted. He then receives a call, telling him that heíll get his wife back once he breaks the mysterious patient out of the hospital. Out of desperation, he races to do what heís told, and he soon finds himself caught up in a mess of good guys, bad guys, and everything in between.

From the moment that Samuel gets that phone call, Point Blank is a non-stop adrenaline rush. The unsuspecting (and unlikely) hero suddenly finds himself in one challenging situation after another, and he ends up spending the next hour or so making tough decisions while racing through the streets and subway stations of Paris, constantly dodging bullets. The action is intense and relentlessómuch like a French Jason Bourne thriller.

An added bonus for viewers who tend to shy away from anything with subtitles: with so many shootouts and chase scenes, there isnít a whole lot of room in the filmís short, 84-minute runtime for long, rambling dialogue. The simple story means that there isnít a whole lot to read hereóand whatever dialogue it does have is pretty basic stuff.

The film has a few plot twists, but many of them are simple enough that youíll understand whatís going on just by watching it all play out. As a result, itís possible to get so caught up in the action that you might just forget that the dialogue isnít in English.

Thanks to its simple story and non-stop action, Point Blank makes a great foreign film for nervous beginners. It has all the brainless excitement of a Hollywood blockbusterówith just a few of those pesky subtitles. But even if you arenít particularly frightened of foreign languages, itís an intriguingly messy thriller thatís sure to give your circulatory system a good workout.

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