Vantage Point (12A)

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The ViewBirmingham Review

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Review byMatthew Turner07/03/2008

Three out of Five stars
Running time: 90 mins

Entertaining but ultimately empty-headed thriller that uses its flashy shifting narrative technique to disguise the fact that it's nowhere near as clever as it thinks it is.

What's it all about?
William Hurt plays US President Ashton, who is shot during a peace summit in Spain, sending Secret Service Agents Barnes (Dennis Quaid) and Taylor (Matthew Fox) on a desperate hunt for the would-be assassin, which only intensifies when bomb is detonated shortly afterwards. Then the action repeatedly zips back twenty minutes and we see the whole thing again from different people's perspectives (or -yes!- vantage points), which reveals a bit more of the story each time, Rashomon-style.

Other witnesses include: camera-happy tourist Harold (Forest Whittaker), local cop Enrique (Eduardo Noriega), a camera-crew controlling news editor (Sigourney Weaver), by-stander Suarez (Said Taghmaoui) and one of the bad guys (Edgar Ramirez), who's working under duress. But is everyone really who they seem?

The Good
Top-billed Dennis Quaid is the only character granted any back-story (he once took a bullet for the Pres, so you know he's a trustworthy sort) and he provides the central focus here, though there's strong support from both Whittaker and Noreiga. There are also decent turns from an under-used Sigourney Weaver, as well as reliable character actors such as Bruce McGill.

By staging the action around a flurry of shootings and explosions and keeping the running time to a trim 90 minutes, director Pete Travis at least ensures that things keep moving at a decent pace. This is further heightened by several excitingly shot chase sequences.

The Bad
The film's biggest problem is that once the actual plot is finally revealed, it turns out to be exceedingly lame and, weirdly, nowhere near as effective as the actual assassination-bombing combo would have been in the first place, so the film becomes progressively disappointing, even as the action heats up.

Worth seeing?
Vantage Point is decently directed and entertaining enough in a Friday night action thriller kind of way but it's not as clever as it thinks it is.

Film Trailer

Vantage Point (12A)
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Content updated: 22/04/2019 19:38

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