Friday, 16 December 2011

À Bout Portant, dir. Fred Cavayé, wr. Fred Cavayé, Guillaume Lemans, st. Gilles Lellouche, Elena Anaya

À Bout Portant is a sinewy thriller, ostensibly an extended chase movie wherein hapless husband and expectant father Samuel (Lellouche) finds himself on the hunt for his kidnapped wife with various criminal organisations and corrupt police officials in hot pursuit. Cavayé's trump card in an overcrowded post-Bourne world is making Samuel a resourceful nobody, driven by his primal instinct to protect his family, rather than a highly trained super-spy. Similarly, the unrelenting and breathless action is grounded in a kind of desperate reality rather than all manner of automotive and acrobatic pyrotechnics we've come to expect from this kind of film. In one wonderfully observed moment, after eluding the cops on the underground, Samuel pauses to catch laboured breath, and vomits profusely. These little touches coupled with Anaya's radiant, doe-eyed portrayal of Nadia, Samuel's wife, seal the deal. There's no shortage of serpentine plot developments either with Cavayé and Lemans playfully toying with conventions of good, evil, innocent and guilty and there's a great little part played by Claire Pérot as an ambitious detective diligently channeling her inner Lisbeth, worthy of a spin-off of her own.