Vantage Point (2008)

Disadvantage: Audience

As the president arrives in Salamanca, gunshots ring out and explosions happen. An American tourist (Whitaker) has captured footage of the would-be assassin on videotape, and now, as the stories of the other four witnesses unfold, each essential piece of the puzzle quickly falls into place. Forest Whitaker, Dennis Quaid, William Hurt, and Matthew Fox star in director Pete Travis' thriller in which an assassination attempt on the president of the United States is detailed from five unique perspectives.

The film runs on the premise that after the story is told from one characters perspective, the events then rewind to 12am and begins telling the same story from another characters perspective. This means that we are "treated" to the same scenes multiple times over, up until we get tired of this annoying gimmick being used over and over again.

The plot tries to be clever in withholding information for us and waiting to dripfeed the answers until later on in the movie, but it doesn't leave you anticipating what the answer is, but frustratingly wondering, and, truth be told, the eventual answers don't justify the build-up we got in any way whatsoever. It also doesn't help that the plot manages to fizzle out during the last act, giving us dull car chases that fail to raise your interest or get your heart pumping.

The characters are pretty much a dull bunch, each one giving us some kind of a backstory that you couldn't care less for and do not manage to develop over the films running time. Perhaps we do not care enough about them because we aren't given enough information about the characters, about what their motivations are or about the characters themselves, that they end up not feeling like real characters. It also doesn't help with how badly written the characters dialogue is, being so uninteresting and so unengaging that it just leaves you wishing the characters didn't have mouths.

"And if I use the zoom button, we can see a more interesting movie being filmed over there"

The only character who I was interested in was Howard Lewis, the everyman tourist who's videotaping the sites and manages to record some important things, played by Forrest Whitaker. His backstory involves a seperated wife and kids which seems tacked on, and cheaply resolved by the time the film's over, whilst his part in the film's main mystery is dropped after Dennis Quaid takes a look at his camera, leaving Howard to do nothing but run after a chase and stop a little girl from getting hit by an ambulance.

The beginning of the film was quite good to watch, and the story from Barnes' point of view was actually quite interesting. The acting manages to be okay, with Whitaker and Quaid portraying their characters the best, but nothing too stand-out. Also, the movie's running time is only 90 minutes, which is short by movie standards, meaning it manages to not outstay it's welcome.

Vantage Point is a film that has potential to build it's interesting premise into a really interesting and exciting film, but ultimately wastes that potential, instead delivering dull action sequences, no character development and managing to fizzle out at the end.


Jeff SC said…
This is the impression I get from this movie. Didn't look appealing when it came out, and my opinion has hardly changed. Just looks like a crappy, Rashomon-like action movie.
AdamMoody said…
Nice review dude. Forrest Whitaker did a fantastic job, but this film was pretty mediocre.
HarleyQuinn said…
A very bland movie, great review!