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As the Bourne series raises the bar for action films, and audiences
balk at two-plus hour runtimes, the filmmakers of Vantage Point seem
like they are trying to bring a fresh, new, unconventional take on the
action/thriller genre. Though it may annoy some people, I felt the new
take turns Vantage Point into a taut terrorist thriller.
The new take or approach is jumping right into the moment (everything is already planned out, people and weapons in place, etc.) of the action and then telling it from eight different points of view. This is where some people may be mildly irritated because after you see one point of view everything is suddenly rewound and shown from the next person's point of view (this is done six times) before they all converge into a thrilling finale filled with one massive adrenaline-fuelled car/chase sequence.
Because of the complex twists and turns of the plot and characters I will be brief, very brief actually, on the plot. It starts with a TV network covering a large gathering of leaders from all over the world (including the President of the United States) who have come together to form an alliance against the war on terror. At the beginning of this meeting the US president is assassinated as he takes the stage, and it begins replaying the assassination through all the different points of view. The editing must be commended in this film as it blends all the points of views so sophisticatedly you cannot help being engrossed, and the star-studded cast includes Dennis Quaid, Mathew Fox, Forest Whitaker, William Hurt, and Sigourney Weaver simply adds to everything.
In the theater I was watching some people called out their annoyance of "again?!" on the fifth rewind, which I find amusing as the filmmakers are simply trying to come up with something new in these sequel-ridden times. And probably as those same people say Hollywood is "out of ideas" they get angry when it tries something "different" and would rather go spend their money on Spider-man 8.
I felt Vantage Point was an intelligent thriller, and yes it had its' share of implausible plot points, but these were minor as the new technique makes you feel like you have an all-seeing surveillance system. I kind of felt like I was putting a puzzle together, piece by piece, and as you see a new point of view it adds more to the story and just when you think you have it figured out it changes again.
I must admit I went into the theatre interested, but skeptical. Slowly,
I got drawn into things, and by the time the we were at the fourth
vantage point, I was fascinated by how all the stories interrelated
with each other, and wondering the story would end up.
The acting is uniformly excellent, especially that of Dennis Quaid, who I had previously considered a mostly comic actor, but is very convincing here as a Secret Service agent.
The direction and script are also excellent, especially when you consider both are first-timers in the world of feature films. The script was not without its clichés, but I didn't see most of the plot twists coming, which I can usually spot coming a mile away in a film like this. There was one real groaner of a plot twist that you'd have to be an idiot not to see, but it goes by so fast that it doesn't really matter.
A lot of the audience in the screening I was at got frustrated by the repeated sections, obviously having no attention span. But once the third act of the film kicks into gear, everybody stopped complaining.
Speaking of which, the third act is the payoff which we've all been waiting for. Seeing all the plot threads converge in such a convincing matter was nice, as was the final action scene, which seems like it was plucked right out of one of the Bourne films. This comes as little surprise, since director Pete Travis and Bourne series director Paul Greengrass have worked together in the past.
As skeptical as I had gone in, I came out impressed. Not since The Bourne Ultimatum have I seen such a convincing, engrossing action thriller.
What can I say? This film is a gimmick film that relates the same event
through the eyes of eight different characters that each hold a piece
of the puzzle. The film stops and rewinds back to 20 minutes before the
event for each character. It gets a little annoying because each time
it stops, the audience is left on a cliffhanger which carries the
film's tension into the next character.
As for what the film promises, it promises a good puzzle, suspense and intense action. It delivers on all accounts. This plot has twists and turns and is completely logical. Half way through this movie, if you think you got it all figured out, you haven't got a clue.
The action is fairly balanced through out the film and keeps the film moving. The car chase in this film is one of the better ones I have seen in a long long time. It had some shots in it that I think were a small homage of the original The Italian Job (1969) car chase scene.
Even though I personally thought that some of the characters were paper thin, many of the actors gave strong performances that made the characters believable. Forest Whitaker was the best. I had a little problem with Dennis Quaid's character, Secret Service Agent Thomas Barnes, starting out as the thinnest of all the characters but he grows in the film. Of course, Edgar Ramirez, Saïd Taghmaoui, and Eduardo Noriega were right on and make the film (but not as much as Whitaker).
The premise of this film makes a refreshing change from the ordinary style of mainstream movies.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Vantage Point tells the story of the assassination of the president of
the United States from 8 different viewpoints. We see the people trying
to protect the president, the media, civilians and the people taking
out the attack.
Vantage Point's is Rashomon for today's audience, minus the talent and brilliance. The whole idea behind of Vantage Point is to tell the audience that everyone has their own perspective on things when in a crisis situation, then of course at the end it decides to tell us the whole story. This concept is really intriguing and could make a really intense action thriller. Vantage Point is indeed tense at times and has a really great car chase sequence, but the absurd plot and useless sub plots are too much for it's own good. It feels as if the film is trying to be to smart for it's own good.
We start off from the viewpoint of Sigourney Weaver and the media. She is the director of the station that is broadcasting the president. This is the perfect way to open the film because it is the closest thing that we, watching on TV at home, will get to see. The only information we know is what is shown to us. Bang, the president is shot, boom the stage explodes and then the film rewinds 23 minutes earlier to 12:00 noon and now we are seeing the event through the eyes of Dennis Quaid, one of the secret service agents protecting the president. The film tells everyone view in about 15 minutes or less, then rewinds to noon every time and then goes to another character. IT becomes very redundant and will no doubt get on people's nerves.
This is why the execution is not as good as it could have been. It could have been a new and innovative way of seeing things, but instead we literally see the events rewind and the clock strike noon 8 times. As repetitive as this is, it does keep things moving along nicely. The film never moves at a snails pace and it shouldn't. Since we know what happens, we sit there waiting for these things to happen every time. During Whitakers viewpoint I found myself sitting their simply waiting for the explosion to happen so it can get on with the story.
There are a lot of things going on in Vantage Point...a lot of things. Double crossers are being double crossed, think of the movie Heist. There are also dozens of characters, characters we never get to know. We get a quick back story on Quaid and know he 'took a bullet' for the president sometime ago and now he's back and that Whitaker has a family back in the States, but other then that we never get to know any of these characters or any explanation for their actions. Then again, that is the point of this movie. So it's safe to say the whole point of this movie is also its weakness.
That weakness is because of the script. There are many times when you have to throw logic out the window here, just to buy some of the things that happen. While the car chase scene is quite thrilling it would never ever happen. For one the streets are way to narrow and populated for these cars to be swerving in and out of. Also one of the vehicles takes a beating, yet keeps on ticking. It takes a giant truck to finally put it to rest. The subplots don't add anything to the film either. One character is doing things because the bad guys have his brother hostage. This subplot could have easily been taken out of the story and nothing would have changed. All you need to do is make the one guy simply be a bad guy instead of trying to save his brother and the same tasks can be taken out.
Vantage Point is not a bad film. Like Jumper I tried to like it, but there are just too many things about it that hurt it. It tries it's hardest to come off as a smart action thriller, but it's faults are too much to be forgiven. Enjoyment can be had, if you're willing to not take anything it shows you to be based on a certain reality.
Some reviewers make it out to almost be a B-movie, but it isn't, not by
a long shot.
The story revolves around the assassination of the US president who is attending a counter-terrorism summit in Spain. The film is told from multiple viewpoints and the events that transpire within a 23-minute time frame, thus a Groundhog Day-like experience.
Vantage Point is really just an action film . . . pure and simple. When seeing this film, don't expect a complex and deep storyline; it certainly isn't that. The proper approach is to just take it for what it is. I liked this film because it had no pretensions. It didn't want to pretend that it needs to be over-analyzed by the viewer. There are no lengthy sub-plots and behind-the-back conspiracy pieces, no need to explain who is fighting for what cause. And if you approach with this frame of mind, then I assure you, you won't get bored or disappointed.
It's a movie that doesn't need to be analyzed ad nauseam. It doesn't care about needing to tie up lose ends and explain all the circumstances surrounding the assassination. Approach it from *that* "vantage point" and you'll appreciate it more.
One crime, multiple vantage points. Sounds cool right? Yes. But
"Vantage Point" never really pulls it off quite how it sets itself up
to. The result is a cool action flick with some clever storytelling
that sort of fizzles in the end.
In "Vantage Point," the President of the United States (William Hurt) arrives in Salamanca, Spain to give a speech on global terrorism efforts and ties with Spain to improve them. He gets shot and then a bomb goes off killing many people. We get this story through the eyes of a variety of characters and by the end of the film know exactly what happened.
The cast is a solid mix of familiar and old faces. Dennis Quaid, Forest Whitaker, William Hurt, Matthew Fox (of LOST fame) and even Sigorney Weaver give this film the star power it requires. The terrorists are entirely new faces, which is no real surprise.
As the film first presents the vantage point concept, the first thirty or forty-five minutes develop a redundancy. You do get many new perspectives, but seeing the same events happen over and over again and the cheesy rewind sequences to establish a change in POV really gets a bit boring. Sometimes you're not really seeing something new, just the same old thing in a new way that doesn't really bring more insight into the plot. Sometime it does and it really helps the film, but mostly it's not the vantage points, but cutting the story off at pivotal moments and clues into the mystery so that when they're revealed in another perspective you can get excited. It's just good storytelling, nothing unique.
The film really loses its appeal, however, with the "final perspective." In fact, it's not really anyone's perspective. The writers sort of realized that adding five more perspectives to reveal the full mystery (which is what it would have taken) would really bother viewers and get absurdly repetitive, so they combined them all into a final twenty minute action sequence that is like any other normal action movie.
Was deviating from the concept in order to please viewers and keep the film short the best course of action? For this film, yes. Sticking to the concept would have made it bad considering the complexity of the plot. But even the ending can also be seen about 15 minutes prior to when it happens, so it's not really all that great. This film would have been better, however, if it could both stay true to the structural concept and please the viewer, which means first-time writer Barry Levy stretched his idea just a bit too far. ~Steven C
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I was lucky enough to watch it during an event of a company I work for.
I really enjoyed this movie, because of it's editing, wonderful actors
and full packed action.
The movie tells the same story from 8 different persepectives, most of them from a character view, makes the puzzle clear till the end. Some puzzle parts can be guessed but this makes the movie so fun to watch.
Matthew fox acting could be better, but the others are convincing. Cheers to Ayelet Zorer, an Israeli actress who surprises again with her beauty and acting.
If you like thriller, action and car chases all in same movie then this movie is for you.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Vantage Point is a camp delight! By the film's end I was waiting for
our shaky-handed, Secret Service hero to rip-off his shirt to expose a
big Superman letter "S" on his chest! Terrorists who blithely slaughter
innocent people left and right will throw everything out the window
over a single child! You know a bomb has just been planted but you keep
standing around talking. A bomb goes off right under your nose with
loads of people lying dead and wounded but our various heroes barely
have a scratch except for their tattered clothes! The Secret Service is
totally inept except for one guy with shaky hands! I think you get the
picture! But the best scene is one of the last. Its when the President
snaps awake at just the right moment, after just being drugged, and
kloncks the bad guy over the heads with a piece of metal all because
the villains conveniently failed to strap him down properly! But just
moments earlier taking out a score of Secret Service agents was a walk
in the park!
I did find the 'Groundhog Day' technique of repeating the same day over, and over again, but from different perspectives, to be a very interesting approach to story telling. Too bad it was wasted on such a unbelievably ridiculous story! It's as if Hollywood's main concern is satisfying it's teenage market segment over all others. I'm not a teenager and I go to the movies virtually every week! What about the adult segment of your market? Don't we count for anything?
This film is trying terribly hard to be a frantic 'French Connection' type movie without worrying much about the story. If all you want is dumbed-down, murder and mayhem, a sort of terrorist war-porn flick, then Vantage Point is for you! But if a decent story is an important ingredient in your recipe for time well spent, then I humbly suggest renting something that has stood the test of time, like the French Connection, instead!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The start of "Vantage Point" was so good that it actually got my hopes
up as I thought I was going to be in for a good action thriller. It's
too bad that after the assassination of the President (William Hurt)
shown through the scope of a CNN type cable News broadcast (GNN-
instead of a "C" it has a "G." Get it? CNN? GNN?) the story is pretty
much over, so they add some action scenes and car chases because
they're all out of ideas. Sigourney Weaver is very good in this five
minute opening scene that throws us directly into the fire without any
set up once so ever. It's just
BAM!! Even though we know what's
coming- which is routine throughout the film- it's still a very
effective start. Then, we get the same thing played back to us over and
over again from a large quantity of people's perspective. Instead of
becoming interesting it becomes boring and trivial. It's no longer
effective. We've seen it all and we become increasingly more impatient.
Even though everything is always not what it seems, and everyone is
always looking at same thing and seeing something different we know
where the film is going, but it drags in getting there.
The trailer gives away one of the huge plot twists in the film (I think there was supposed to be another, but that could also be seen from a mile away. Think- Rogue. Cliché? You bet.). The President used a double and it was he who was shot. Did the double die? We'll never know. I think the writer or director of the film forgot because of so many flashbacks. What does it want to do? They know they want to show the assassination of the President through the eyes of many, but as the plot expands to such wide extremes it just becomes muddled in its own fecal matter. Eventually the film is no longer about perspective, but about car chases and shootouts. This is where the plot holes come roaring in one after another and the overly done clichés continue. Dennis Quaid gives one of the worst acting performances of this millennium along with the guy from "Lost," who has such a big secret, both he and the writer can't wait to tell you. They hint at it long enough to actually make you wonder if they're stupid enough to go through with it, so you may doubt what they're going to do, because it's set up so poorly. You think they're trying to trick you, but trust your instincts. Expect terrible clichés and you'll know exactly where the film is headed.
The dialogue was horrendous. The coincidences were through the roof. The predictability starts in the trailer. I was laughing at it, literally, laughing at its terrible execution. There was no substance to this once so ever. It's like they got to a point were they were done with all the flashbacks and said, "Let's have a 10 minute car chase and a bunch of shootouts." I loved when the guy from "Lost" turns around after he's carrying the President off the stage and looks at Quaid and says "find that shooter!"
It's just so laughable. The car chase is terrible. For some inexplicit reason a little girl that Forest Whitaker takes a fond liking to is running through a highway- that for some odd reason isn't closed off during or after such an incredible event. An ambulance truck driven by terrorists are flying down the highway at her as she stands in the middle of the road screaming for about 30 seconds. It was like "Austin Powers" where they make fun of movies where they have morons standing in the road screaming for a long time instead of steeping back off the road and avoiding the oncoming car. As the little girl stands there screaming, coincidentally, the driver is preoccupied and not looking at the road (Yes, that cliché). When he turns around, he sees the girl in the street so he flips the truck instead of killing another innocent life. For some reason he tries to avoid her. This guy is responsible for killing a lot of people, but now he quickly grows a heart. Then Forest does something that is completely shocking. Not!!!! Just another cliché that has been done before. There's just nothing here to get excited about. It starts off good then continually get's worse and worse and by the end you'll find yourself watching some of the worst scenes in film history.
"The beauty of American arrogance is that they can't imagine a world where they're not a step ahead."
Interestingly enough this quote came out of this film and interestingly enough the filmmakers add to that "arrogance" of always being a step a head. Look who lives and look who dies when some of the people who don't look like they're going to live end up living. More Pro-American, Anti-Anyone else clichés.
"Vantage Point" is one of the most ridiculous films you're ever going to come across. Especially, when you're watching Dennis Quaid turn into Superman as he brushes off bullets, or when he jumps out of a car that was T-Boned into a building with him getting crushed in between the car and an 18 wheeler that weighs about 10 tons. He simply jumps out of the car, unscathed, and brushes off his shoulders. That's not a joke. That's actually what he does. This was more effective as a comedy and what made it so funny was that the filmmakers took it so seriously. This film is a joke. Another stinker for 2008 for Forest Whitaker to add to the heap of crap after his great performance in "The Last King of Scotland," which seems decades ago. Now he looks like a below average actor, which he might be.
It didn't really look that way from the previews (looked more like a
whodunit) but it is. It's like SPEED or THE FUGITIVE in that way and
like RUN LOLA RUN in it's structure. So if you like those films I'd say
it's a safe bet for you. It also has a really great car chase scene and
this is coming from someone who usually doesn't "get" those. During
that whole sequence all I could think was 'how did they choreograph
that?' because it had to be really precise. I mean the cars were almost
You have a stellar ensemble cast here. Forest Whitaker plays a witness to the events who gets caught up in the whirlwind. I don't think I've even seen him run before so this was a little different for him. Matthew Fox and Dennis Quaid play secret service men. I was surprised how little screen time Fox had and if there is a star it's Dennis. I don't think it appeared that way in the trailer either. But mainly the whole thing was split up between all these different characters and their vantage points on this assassination attempt on the US president in Spain. William Hurt plays the president and I'm thinking I'm going to write him in in November. He just looks the part. Sigourney Weaver plays a TV producer who is a witness as she's producing the live coverage and for a minute I thought we didn't see her vantage point but her's was the first one we watched. We were watching along with her and I didn't realize we were already doing the multiple point of views thing. They all culminate at about the same point and once we've seen all of them the action continues from there into a perfect ending.
This film really gets going right away and there is no time for a potty break. There isn't a lot of cursing, just a couple words here or there, and not too scary violence so people who watch "LOST" and "24" level action should be able to handle it. This is the sort of movie you used to only get in the summer.
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