Vantage Point


Directed by: Pete Travis
Written by:Barry Levy
Starring: Dennis Quaid, Matthew Fox, Forest Whitaker, Sigourney Weaver, William Hurt, Bruce McGill
Released: March 13, 2008
Grade: B-

The President of the United States is in Spain for a world summit to help stop terrorism.  His first appearance is in an enclosed piazza where he will be introduced by the Mayor in front of thousands of people.  As the President steps to the podium, he is shot twice in the stomach.  The crowd flees in panic and the Secret Service agents start an immediate search for the assassin.  Minutes later, a bomb is detonated from beneath the main stage.  This was a carefully orchestrated attack.

On face value, this is a sub-par Hollywood thriller.  The plot is ridiculous and the more you think about it, the less sense it makes.  There were way too many coincidences for my liking and I’d be hopeful that the real Secret Service could do a better job of protecting the President.  There are also some sub-lots (such as a request for the President to retaliate) which have no purpose.  Let’s not forget the sappy dialogue (particularly near the end) which left many audience members at my screening laughing openly.

What saves the film from being a complete disaster is the way it has been told by writer Barry Levy.  As the poster promises, we see the film from the “vantage point” of 8 different people.  This will frustrate some viewers but I like the audacious style.  You may think it sounds boring to be watching the same event over and over again but it’s not like that.  It only increases the suspense.  Each new perspective reveals fresh pieces of the puzzle.  Some of the twists (as unbelievable as they were) did catch me off guard.  I also liked the car chase sequence.

From my vantage point in the 3rd back row of Cinema 8 in the Myer Centre, I sized up the evidence and declared that the film was worthy of a B-.  Did other people see it differently?  What about that couple sitting in the front row because they turned up late?  Were they wooed by the big-name cast?  Did they believe that the story was possible?  I guess you’ll have to ask them.