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Entertaining But...

  • Apr 15, 2008
  • by
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 all Tinseltown produced, but somewhere along our journey into the 21st century, movies have gotten progressively airy and require less brain power to mentally digest. I have to admit there are times when I enjoy the witless movie as much as the next guy, but not all the time! Even the movie that promise intellectual stimulation only go so far and then, the brain balloon pops, and the treaded formulaic plot lines escape thus ruining the movie.

Such is the case with Vantage Point, the political thriller that looks at the attempted assassination of the U.S. President from 8 different perspectives. Vantage Point wants so badly to tell a story of intelligent intrigue, human drama, national arrogance, and international anger, but somewhere along the way the writers forgot to parley with reality. The result: a script full of very discernable holes in a movie that is entertaining, but barley so.

The Story

Directed by newbie Pete Travis Vantage Point’s, first point of view comes from corporate American in the guise of GNN (Global News Network – one has to guess) as director/ news producer Rex Brooks (Sigourney Weaver – Alien, Ghost Busters, Working Girl) watches live camera footage of a world summit in which the President is supposed to speak unfold. The summit, which takes place in Spain of all places, is a historical event in which the Western nations align with Arab states in an all-out effort to combat global terrorism.

The opening is actually exciting to watch as reporter Angie Jones (Zoe Saldana – Drumline, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, Six Degrees) tries to interleave some local responses to the summit into her reporting but is shut down by a network only interested in the American perspective. This segment takes about 10 minutes to develop and then President Ashton (William Hurt – Body Heat, The Accidental Tourist, Jane Eyre) is shot.

Rewind; the second perspective begins as Secret Service agent Thomas Barnes (Dennis Quaid – Stripes, Enemy Mine, Any Given Sunday), who was shot protecting the President, gets ready to lay his life on the line once more. This is his first detail after the shooting and he has his partner Kent Taylor (Mathew Fox – Lost, We Are Marshall) to thank. This segment also takes about ten minutes to unfold and as the movie’s title implies Barnes’ perspective lends a deeper understanding of the plot vis-à-vis his vantage point, as more of the pieces to the puzzle are put into place. The next six rewinds take the viewer deeper and deeper into the plot, as the assassination is viewed by Howard Lewis (Forest Whitaker - Platoon, Panic Room, The Last King of Scotland), Veronica (Ayelet Zurer), Enrique (Eduardo Noriega)—the man in the middle—among others play their part in the master plot devised by Suarez (Said Taghmaoui – Sleeper Cell).

My Thoughts

With a roster of notable stars Vantage Point should have been a solid film. And indeed it starts out promising enough, but as the story unwinds the plot holes become more glaring and frequent. For example: in one segment a lone terrorist was able to gain access to the President’s room by climbing stairs un-haunted as it were by the Secret Service; seriously! And of course those Secret Service agents he did encounter were easily dispatched; again seriously! At one point Howard Lewis observes a man standing in the window of a building that was supposed to be empty, yet none of the plethora of Secret Service and Spanish Police saw the man despite their massive numbers on the roofs of nearby buildings, and on the ground looking for just such a thing saw nothing; do I have to say it?

Despite the films somewhat unique approach, Vantage Point is infused with formulaic plot twists and characters; enough to make the film mostly predictable. And the ending stretches the imagination almost to the breaking point, but I suppose it acts as a catalyst for a number of characters to play the Great American Hero, but the outcome is far too contrived to be remotely believable.

But, despite Vantage Point’s glaring flaws I found myself liking the film at least enough to give it a weak nod and advise the populace to go see it at least at a half price venue like my spouse and I did. Recognizing and acknowledging that truly great American films are few and far between these days, I have to take my entertainment when and where I can!


Viewing Format: DVD
Video Occasion: Good for a Rainy Day
Suitability For Children: Suitable for Children Age 13 and Older

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More Vantage Point reviews
review by . June 24, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
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 …
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 …
About the reviewer
Vincent Martin ()
Ranked #187
I am an IT Professional and have worked in the industry for over 20 years. I may be a computer geek, but I also like reading, writing, cooking, music, current events and regretfully, politics.
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About this movie


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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