Vantage Point – Review

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Image courtesy of impawards.com

Director:

Pete Travis

Cast:

Dennis Quaid……….Thomas Barnes
Matthew Fox……….Kent Taylor
Forest Whitaker……….Howard Lewis
Bruce McGill……….Phil McCullough
Edgar Ramirez……….Javier
Saïd Taghmaoui……….Suarez
Ayelet Zurer……….Veronica
Zoe Saldana……….Angie Jones
Sigourney Weaver……….Rex Brooks
William Hurt……….President Ashton
James LeGros……….Ted Heinkin
Eduardo Noriega……….Enrique
Richard T. Jones……….Holden
Holt McCallany……….Ron Matthews
Leonardo Nam……….Kevin Cross
Dolores Heredia……….Marie
Alicia Zapien……….Anna (as Alicia Jaziz Zapien)
Justin Sundquist……….Parsons
Sean O’Bryan……….Cavic
José Carlos Rodríguez……….Mayor De Soto
Rodrigo Cachero……….Luis
Guillermo Iván……….Felipe
Xavier Massimi……….Miguel
Shelby Fenner……….Grace Riggs
Ari Brickman……….Secret Service Agent
Brian McGovern……….Mark Reinhart
Lisa Owen……….American Woman
Rocío Verdejo……….Paulina
Marisa Rubio……….Police Woman

After viewing the preview Vantage Point becomes more an effort at perfect execution than an exercise in suspense. As the story unfolds, told from eight different angles, more information is added with each go round, but it is more about how the twists are presented than why. Director Pete Travis’ feat is an unusual accomplishment in filmmaking: a movie that lives and dies by its gimmick and Vantage Point‘s hook works perfectly.

Initially, the events unfold as seen through the cameras’ of a global news network produced by Sigourney Weaver. All the pertinent plot points are seemingly presented as the US president (William Hurt) is shot at a world peace summit in Spain. Too late to save him, secret service agent, Dennis Quaid, becomes hell bent on finding the shooter. His search leads him into the production booth where he stumbles upon a startling revelation.

Rewind it back, and now the audience bears witness to the assassination through the eyes of Dennis Quaid. His character is fleshed out, and others primaries are brought into play. To provide much more information (as the film does with each passing vantage point) would spoil the fun of the film. Travis expertly hides facts from the audience until so that viewers don’t know anything more than the characters the camera is follows. Credit the editing and script for keeping the focus tight while somehow balancing a variety of viewpoints.

Vantage Point also benefits from remaining relatively self-contained. The story never strays away from the streets of Spain, and the plot to kill the president is never suggested to be anything more grand scale than what we see in front of us. The film works well because it does not over-reach its grasp or overestimate its abilities. It is so self-contained that it is simultaneously thrilling and forgettable. As soon as viewers become aware of everything there is to know, they no longer have reason to retain any of the plot.

What should stay with viewers are the typically solid performances from Dennis Quaid, Forest Whitaker, Matthew Fox, and unknowns Edgar Ramirez, Saïd Taghmaoui. Quaid and Whitaker bring their A-game regardless of the material, as such they are able to add depth and humanity to Vantage Point that might not have been there otherwise.

But Vantage Point is, at its core, a one trick pony and while the trick is a good one, it is also one that the film can never rise above. That is not to say that Vantage Point is a failure, but if it aspired to be anything more than throwaway entertainment its gimmick was a large obstacle. Appropriate considering that the device is the movie, and vice versa.

FINAL RATING (ON A SCALE OF 1-5 BUCKETS):