Point Blank (À bout portant) (2010) (France) The ordinary man thrust into events he doesn’t understand was a favorite theme of Alfred Hitchcock; the quintessential example is probably North by Northwest. This is a damn good example of the genre. Samuel is a nurse’s aide who unintentionally foils a murder attempt on one of his patients. Then he gets a call telling him that his pregnant wife has been kidnapped, and if he doesn’t get the man out of the hospital in an hour or so, they will kill her. Naturally, we know as little as he does as to what this is all about. The man, a gunshot victim, looks like a North African, possibly Moroccan. Is this radical Islamic terrorism? We follow along as he is thrust into one situation after another, doing things he is totally unprepared for. It’s a harrowing journey, and it all hangs together.
One thing I really liked is that Samuel is not an inexhaustible superhero, as so many are. After he has been running flat out for a while, he runs slower and slower, and soon has to stop and pant frantically, trying to get his breath back. Not even Olympic athletes can sprint very far or very long, contrary to what you see in the movies.