Vantage Point lacks focus…

24 Feb

UPDATE: I submitted my Vantage Point review to Relevant’s online site, and they published it this morning! Check it out here!

Vantage Point is the latest film from Director Pete Travis, and features an all-star cast including Dennis Quaid, William Hurt, Forest Whitaker, Sigourney Weaver and Matthew Fox.

The film opens in a television production trailer in Spain, where a producer, portrayed briefly by Sigourney Weaver, directs news coverage of a peace summit involving world leaders seeking to end global terrorism.

All seems normal as American President Ashton, played by actor William Hurt, enters the scene, accompanied by Secret Service agents Thomas Barnes (Dennis Quaid) and Kent Taylor (Matthew Fox). Shortly after arriving onstage, however, President Ashton is shot several times, and within moments, explosions are heard and the film proceeds to assault the movie audience with jarring juxtapositions of clips, replaying moments from the previous scenes. As the screen fades to white, the movie audience, much like the stunned agents and other bystanders within the film, are left to solve the mystery of what turns out to be a surprising conspiracy.

Moments later, the film picks up twenty-three minutes prior to the shooting, and the audience is treated to the point of view of Thomas Barnes. Barnes is revealed as a reluctant hero whom, after taking a shot for the president nearly a year ago, has returned to the job slightly paranoid and unsure of himself. Following the shooting, Barnes immediately springs to action, advancing to the news trailer to obtain any footage they have taken that could reveal some clue. Quaid plays the scene well, as his character perceives something that those of us in the movie audience are not privileged to see.

This formula of fading to white, along with the playback of disturbing images, occurs a total of five times within the film, including the points of view of Barnes, Spanish police officer Enrique, Bystander Howard Lewis, President Ashton, and the conspirators behind the attempt on the president’s life.

Unfortunately, while Vantage Point offers an interesting concept by allowing the audience entrance into the minds of these different witnesses, as well as non-stop action sequences and exciting car chases, it fails to offer depth where its plot and characters are concerned. This is a shame, as the film is comprised of a capable cast who certainly could have delivered more complex material. If only the audience were to be provided with a little more back story, perhaps connections with these characters could have been established. This is not to say that Vantage Point is not an exciting film; it certainly is at least that. However, if you are looking for intellectual commentary on global terrorism and solutions for said problem, you might want to try another film.

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