Two Thrillers from eOne Films
Isolation (December 5/11)
Isolation casts Eva Amurri as Amy Moore, a medical student who is left dazed and disoriented after she wakes up in an isolation ward suffering from a mysterious ailment - with the film subsequently detailing Amy's ongoing efforts at getting answers out of an off-kilter orderly (Joshua Close's Jake) and a sinister doctor (David Harbour's Dr. Sloan). There's little doubt that Isolation opens with a fair degree of promise, as filmmaker Stephen Kay kicks off the proceedings with a 28 Days Later-like stretch in which Amy attempts to figure out just what's going on - with her confusion and terror amplified by radio reports of a worldwide viral epidemic. From there, however, Isolation morphs into a slow-moving and decidedly claustrophobic drama that boasts few elements designed to sustain the viewer's rapidly dwindling interest - as scripter Chris Bullett's refusal to offer up any real backstory for the protagonist prevents the viewer from wholeheartedly sympathizing with (or caring about) her increasingly perilous plight. The progressively tedious atmosphere results in a midsection that's often nothing short of interminable, with the sporadic effectiveness of the movie's central mystery - ie what is Dr. Sloan up to, exactly? - simply unable to compensate for the otherwise disastrously uneventful atmosphere. And although the film admittedly does improve in its final 15 minutes - the impressively bleak and downbeat ending is unquestionably a highlight - Isolation ultimately comes off as a decent short film that's trapped within the confines of an overlong and lethargic feature.
A riveting, frequently electrifying thriller, Point Blank follows male nurse Samuel Pierret (Gilles Lellouche) as he's blackmailed into helping a criminal (Roschdy Zem's Hugo Sartet) escape from police custody after thugs kidnap his pregnant wife (Elena Anaya's Nadia) - with the film subsequently detailing the various complications that ensue as crooked cops, deadly mobsters, and various other nefarious figures enter the picture. Filmmaker Fred Cavayé effectively draws the viewer into the blisteringly-paced proceedings right from the get-go, with the inherently captivating nature of the movie's high-concept premise heightened by Lellouche's believable, consistently stirring performance. (Zem does an equally affecting and magnetic job of stepping into the shoes of his pervasively unflappable character.) The frequently electrifying atmosphere proves instrumental in compensating for a plot that admittedly doesn't hold up to close scrutiny, as Cavayé, working from a script cowritten with Guillaume Lemans, peppers the narrative with a number of strikingly conceived and executed action set pieces - including an impressively tense foot chase through a busy subway station. By the time the jaw-droppingly engrossing police-station climax rolls around, Point Blank has certainly established itself as one of the most entertaining and potent actioners of this new century - with the film ultimately faring a whole lot better than the majority of Hollywood's similarly-themed output.