Vantage Point

Director – Pete Travis

Writer – Barry Levy

Starring – Dennis Quiad, Forest Whitaker, William Hurt, Sigourney Weaver, Matthew Fox, Edgar Ramirez

Review:

Throw a stick at new action thriller Vantage Point and you’re bound to hit a major name. And with the help of some great fast paced action, a challenging albeit ridiculous amount of different things going on at the one time and an interesting premise the film isn’t actually as bad as you might have heard.

In a Rashomon-style narrative, the assassination of a US president is seen from several different vantage points.

The key to keeping the audience guessing in a film like this is to keep major plot points hidden until they get into the cinema and proceed to watch it. The marketing team behind this film made some major mistakes when putting together the trailer for it, as at least one or two major, and I don’t use that word lightly, plot points are given away to audience even before they settle into their seats to see it. As a result of this I knew exactly what was coming at several points throughout, leaving little mystery left. Now in the film’s defence it does have some hidden tricks up its sleeve, with one other major plot point that left me pretty shocked. And the way in which the spoiled plot points are played out still have at least a whiff of intrigue left in them. But I hope that whoever did the marketing for this film learns a lesson here and hopefully it won’t happen again in the future.

The narrative style of the film, although not completely original, seems fresh and new, at least to a modern audience. I admire the film for taking a risk, as showing the same event over and over could have backfired drastically but luckily, at least in my eyes anyway, the film plays around with it in a way that holds your interest and at least attempts to keep you guessing. But even though I had no problem and actually really liked the concept of showing the same event over and over from different view points it is the way in which they do it throughout that really irked me. At the beginning of the movie we see the events from the perspective of a news report room, we see the president (played by William Hurt) walk up onto the podium, someone shoots him and then promptly the podium explodes. The film then stops and rewinds (literally) to just as the clock is hitting midday, we hear a clock bell ring and then we see the same event from another point of view. Now this was a fine and an almost necessary tactic for the director to employ but what really bugged me about it was the fact that they do this same exact thing every time we go to a different vantage point. It was fine the first time, and possibly the second, but by the third, fourth and so on I just thought, “Okay I get it, we are seeing the same event from a different point of view, you don’t have to keep rewinding back to the same point.” In doing this it is basically treating the audience like idiots as if we can’t work out that we are seeing the same thing from the same point in time but from a different viewpoint.

I think the one thing that has bothered most people about Vantage Point is the amount of absolutely ludicrous plot points. And I must concur with those complaints as yes the film has more moments than I can count where I just rolled my eyes in disbelief and embarrassment. I can’t believe such a high powered cast would agree to do a film like this after reading the ludicrous script, but hey; I guess money really does talk.

But when a movie is as fun and enjoyable as this one actually turns out to be I can forgive some of its wrong doings in favour of my enjoyment. So even though I lost count of the amount of times I rolled my eyes I forgave that in the name of entertainment, and I was far better off for it. Now some may never dream of doing such a thing, some will crush such a film for having such big fault and problems and I can understand that but luckily for the film I am a huge fan of this genre and I was able to overlook certain failings.

But even though I am ultimately going to forgive pretty much all the wrong doings of the film there was something that bothered me more than anything else and something I would be remiss if I failed to mention. I hate to say it but the ending is one of the stupidest, most ludicrous, most unbelievable endings to a film of this kind that I can remember in a good few years. I won’t say what it is obviously, but let’s just say after all the trouble that has happened within the course of the movie it is something that pales in comparison to the bigger picture that brings everything to a halt. Thankfully I got wind of the fact the ending was terrible, although not what actually happens, before I saw it so I was prepared but still I was left bemused and disappointed at the ridiculousness of it.

The cast of the film is probably the biggest reason to see it. Even though there wasn’t really any need to have such an amount of big names in the one film, it is none the less a movie goers dream to see them all in the one place.

So it may not be a film for the ages, one that will probably be forgotten in a matter of a couple of months but it’s got enough enjoyment and ridiculous intrigue to make it worth the price of admission. A mind blowing cast and fast paced action make up for the ridiculous plot points and terrible ending (jus barely but still). So in the end Vantage Point may be dumb but at least it’s on the right side of it.

2 thoughts on “Vantage Point”

  1. It was like deja vu over and over and over again, having to go back and watch the same thing from another point of view, poorly written, bad acting,

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