A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Point Blank, an action thriller in film noir mode, is a remake of a 2010 French movie of the same name (aka "A Bout Portant"). Set in Cincinnati, for this story's purpose a city teeming with crime and police corruption, the movie relies on a familiar premise -- an innocent caught up in circumstances beyond his control must summon his courage and smarts to defeat a powerful enemy. Violence is brutal; gunfights, up-close shooting deaths, bloody victims, car chases/crashes, hand-to-hand fights, and repeated life-or-death moments for the hero and a pregnant woman come early and often. Countless uses of "f--k" and "s--t" are heard along with other curses and racial slurs (i.e., "ass," "p---y," "d--k," variations of the "N" word). Drugs (morphine and Toradol) are administered by syringe, mostly to ease the pain of wounded man. Characters smoke cigarettes.
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What's the story?
As POINT BLANK opens, a well-respected district attorney has been murdered. Abe (Frank Grillo) has been apprehended after a gun battle and nearly fatal accident. The suspect is the hospital under the care of Paul (Anthony Mackie), a capable nurse. When an intruder attacks Abe, Paul is able to fight back and fend him off. Before the shaken Paul returns home to his very pregnant wife Taryn (Teyonah Parris), he's questioned by police, including the sympathetic Detective Lewis (Marcia Gay Harden). But Paul's terrifying adventure has just begun. Men follow the unsuspecting Paul home, take Taryn hostage, and demand the nurse's help in getting Abe out of the hospital. Otherwise, they'll kill his wife and unborn son. To do their bidding and save his wife, Paul, along with the injured Abe, who claims he's innocent, are faced with heightening danger from an array of villains, including an angry drug dealer and a ruthless gang of corrupt police officers. The stakes get higher when Taryn's situation intensifies, and a new threat is even more menacing than the first.
Is it any good?
Director Joe Lynch has elements of film noir in place: gritty city, guns and blood, dirty cops, criminals with hearts of gold, and an innocent in way over his head, but it doesn't add up to much. The action starts out strong; the stakes are high; the acting is first rate, but as the story plays out it becomes muddy and predictable (who in the room didn't know that Taryn would go into labor before the final credits?). For some, the pounding, pervasive music over the action (what feels like the director's homage to of Edgar Wright's ground-breaking work in Baby Driver), will be irritating and distracting; for others, it will feel hip and fun. The addition of an overly-cute drug dealer with a movie obsession doesn't help build suspense to the grand finale.
Still, Frank Grillo may have this film noir thing down pat. He's every bit the part, and good at it. Anthony Mackie makes a great Everyman. And, Marcia Gay Harden must relish getting to play a different kind of gal. Point Blank is okay for action lovers, but not for kids.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the violence in Point Blank. Why do you think there are so many action movies with lots of violence? Why is important for families to understand the impact of violent movies on kids?
Film noir is specific genre of crime movies. Find out with the term means and take a look at the history of the genre. What elements of film noir are unmistakable in this movie?
How did Director Joe Lynch and his team use specific music to set the mood and up the energy in Point Blank? Did you like the music? Do you think it helped or hurt the story? Why?
Important filmmaking terms are "source music" and "musical score." Find out the difference between the two.
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