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Lunch » Tags » Movies » Reviews » Vantage Point » User review

Easy thriller, won't impress, won't disappoint

  • Jun 24, 2009
Rating:
+1
Pros: Consistent story telling, acting by several of the principles

Cons: Only a so-so plot and every frame that has Dennis Quaid in it

The Bottom Line:

If you like Forrest Whittaker, Sigourney Weaver, William Hurt, then watch it.  Otherwise, it is an ok film that is at best not a waste of time.



Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie''s plot.

Vantage Point is an easy to follow nonlinear story.

The US president arrives in Salamanca, Spain to kick off an international conference on terrorism.  Just as he makes it to the podium to speak, he is shot.  Chaos follows.  There is a distant explosion.  Then the podium and stage explode onto what is left of the crowd.

The central plot is that simple.

What makes Vantage Point worth the time is how it tells, not what it tells.  If you are not a fan of nonlinear films (Pulp Fiction, Mystery Train, Go, and Rules of Attraction to name the first 4 to come to mind) then you will likely skip it.  Still, Vantage Point is the easiest version of that narrative style I’ve seen, so it might be a small challenge rather than a bore.

In no particular order, the entire plotline is created by these subplots: television network filming the arrival of the president, secret service agent protecting the president, the president’s point of view, an American tourist with a video camera, a local reporter, a local mother and her daughter and at least 2 stories from different members of the terrorist cell.

The central plot appears in all of these sub-narratives.  Each tells just a little bit more of the story beyond the central one.  So at the end you have a finished product whose pieces pretty much fit together.

With Vantage Point director Pete Travis makes a simple thriller.  We get decent action—a top notch car chase—and some mature plot twists.  You can invest a minimum of attention and get your time’s worth, or you can invest some more and get a bit more out of it without wasting time.

The simplicity is one reason I consider the film to rate 3 stars.  Except for Go, the nonlinear films I listed are not neat packages that telegraph their structure.  Mr. Travis uses the trope of running action backwards in fast motion then a black screen to indicate when the point of view will change.  This is fine for a lazy and thought free Sunday, but I tend to want fewer training wheels on my films, even when I’m having a thought free Sunday.  So the tool used to indicate a change in perspective is just a bit condescending to me.

The other aspect making the film average is the acting.  Three of the principles turn in reliable performances, such that, if you are a fan of Forrest Whittaker, Sigourney Weaver, or William Hurt, then you shouldn’t skip this film.  Mr. Whittaker plays the video-camera laden American Tourist.  He becomes this role as easily as he did Gen. Amin; Mr. Hurt (the president) and Ms. Weaver (location director for the network) each turn in the ensemble version of their talents.  The rest of the actors are unnoticeable at best or, in the case of Dennis Quaid remarkably bad.

He spends all of his camera time looking like a petulant seven-year-old girl.  Whether guarding the president, running around on foot, being a principle in the car chase, his face has the pursed lips and squinty eyes of a girl with her best “I am sooooooo mad at mommy” look.  It is distracting enough to warrant this many words.

Vantage Point is not going to impress, disappoint, or likely offend anyone.  There are better films for your 100 minutes but there are way more that shouldn’t get even half that much.

Recommended:
Yes

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More Vantage Point reviews
review by . February 16, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
VANTAGE POINT is a dramatic action film told from multiple points of view. The movie is set in Spain and revolves around the President of the United States as he delivers an important speech during an anti-terrorism summit. The movie follows the President of the United States (William Hurt), two Secret Service agents (Dennis Quaid & Matthew Fox) sworn to protect him, and several bystanders in the crowd (including Forest Whitaker). During the delivery of his message, an attempted assassination attempt …
review by . November 15, 2008
Basic premise:   1. The President of the United States is speaking at an anti-terrorism summit in Spain   2. He gets shot   3. There is an explosion   4. A bigger explosion follows     The film loops these events over and over, each from the perspective of a different character, with each loop adding a little more information than the last.     Beginning with news producer Rex Brooks (Sigourney Weaver) laying the foundation …
review by . September 08, 2008
'Vantage Point' a solid film. It's a fast-paced, action-political thriller that reaches out to those who enjoy gun fights and car chases but want substance when it comes to the plot and characters. The film centers on the story of the attempted assassination of the American president just as he's about to address a peace conference in Spain. We see the perspective of eight people caught up in the events, from the terrorists themselves to CIA agents to ordinary citizens, with each person holding …
review by . July 31, 2008
posted in Movie Hype
`Vantage Point' is one of those movies that drew me by its trailer. At a kinetic pace we see a frenetic adventure as an assassination attempt on the President takes place, while a "double"** of him has been placed on his behalf on stage at a terrorist summit in Salamanca, Spain. Interlocking pieces fit together to give us a composite of conspiracy and treachery. Perhaps having high expectations I was more than a little disappointed with this mystery-thriller ride. I generally give most movies the …
review by . July 02, 2008
The story line of VANTAGE POINT is a brief one: a summit meeting on terrorism aimed at addressing the differences between the Arab world and the Western world is taking place in Salamanca, Spain and the arrival of the President of the United States is greeted with assassination attempts, terrorist explosions, and car chases. The difference in this thriller from the many others of the same genre is the use of telling the story from at least five different vantage points - the news reporters (Sigourney …
review by . April 15, 2008
Pros: Great acting by all concerned.     Cons: Too many plot holes; somewhat predictable.      The Bottom Line: Despite Vantage Point’s glaring flaws I found myself liking the film at least enough to give it a weak nod.     Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie''s plot. A really intelligent movie is getting hard and harder to find in Hollywood’s modern day repertoire. There was a time when that was practically …
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Paul Savage ()
Ranked #57
I name and describe everything and classify most things. If 'it' already had a name, the one I just gave it is better.
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A presidential assassination attempt is told from multiple points of view in Pete Travis's directorial debut, VANTAGE POINT. U.S. president Ashton (William Hurt) is in Salamanca, Spain (though much of the film was actually shot in Mexico), to announce plans for a major global summit on terrorism. But as he stands behind the podium in front of an adoring crowd (with protesters blocked off from the stage), he is shot twice, followed shortly by a small explosion and then a massive blast. Secret Service Agents Barnes (Dennis Quaid), Taylor (Matthew Fox), and Holden (Richard T. Jones) immediately jump into action, trying to find the terrorists responsible amid all the chaos. The thriller first shows the events through the eyes of television news producer Rex Brooks (Sigourney Weaver), and then the film rewinds, replaying the action from a different point of view. Each perspective reveals a few more clues, then rewinds again, taking the audience through the assassination attempt and its aftermath again. VANTAG...
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