Point Blank - Gilles Lellouche as Samuel in Fred Cavayé

French filmmakers are currently the masters of tautly plotted, fast-moving thrillers in which an ordinary guy must take extraordinary measures to save a loved one. For evidence, watch Tell No One and Anything for Her, and then take a look at The Next Three Days, Anything for Her’s flabby Hollywood remake, to see how much better the French do these things.

Fred Cavayé, writer-director of Anything for Her, revisits the formula with Point Blank (not to be confused with John Boorman’s 1967 noir masterpiece) – and it’s every bit as gripping as its predecessor.

The protagonist this time is Gilles Lellouche’s Samuel, a trainee nurse forced to smuggle a patient out of hospital in order to save his heavily pregnant kidnapped wife. Freeing the patient, a criminal named Sartet (Roschdy Zem) with deadly friends and enemies, turns out to be only the first step down a lethally slippery slope for Samuel, who ends up reluctantly joining forces with the crook in a race against time to bring down a bunch of corrupt cops and rescue his imperilled wife.

As the film’s commendably lean running time of 84 minutes suggests, Cavayé doesn’t hang about as he puts Lellouche’s nurse through an escalating series of ordeals. That it’s a hapless everyman risking life and limb, rather than a macho Hollywood hero, only makes his predicament more thrilling and engaging. Don’t wait for the inevitable remake, see le original.

On general release from 10th June.