In the Line of a Camera
For a movie which starts so well "Vantage Point" soon becomes a tedious, monotonous and rather run of the mill thriller with a gimmick, which is showing the same sequence of events from various different perspectives, a bit like if you were in the cutting room going through the footage of a film shoot. All a bit "24" but less exciting and lacking the punch which "24" delivers.
The sequence of events which "Vantage Point" focuses upon is the assassination attempt on the life of the United States President as he delivers a speech at a counter-terrorism conference in Spain. What we get is 8 different view points of the same action, from the camera team recording the proceedings to members of the general public and a secret service agent who tries to unravel the clues to who the assassins are before they escape.
All very exciting ...... to start with, but unfortunately the gimmick of seeing the same thing over and over again soon becomes annoying. Especially as once you get to the end of one set of footage they do a fast rewind which is basically padding and even more annoying. In fact you can easily start to lose interest in what is going on as you see the same thing over and again, so much so that when something new or important happens the chances are you will probably miss it.
All of this could have been helped if the actual plot to "Vantage Point" was a bit more interesting but to be honest it's dull. There is nothing really special about an assassination attempt and even a few twists doesn't add anything substantial to make it any more interesting. To be blunt, assassination attempts have been done to death on the big screen and the only difference between numerous other movies and "Vantage Point" is the various view point gimmick. It's also not helped by a few gaping holes in the plot which makes the final outcome a bit of a mess, and leaves you questioning why?
Going back to "24" for a moment, part of the series success is the character Jack Bauer and Kiefer Sutherland who plays him. Unfortunately "Vantage Point" doesn't have that character or actor, what we get is a central figure of secret service agent Thomas Barnes, played by Dennis Quaid, who is returning to service after having previously saved the President's life, all very familiar if you have seen the superior "In the Line of Fire" starring Clint Eastwood. Now I like Dennis Quaid but he is let down by the poor plot and script to the point that I think the grimace he displays throughout "Vantage Point" is more to do with wondering why he signed up to do the movie in the first place rather than actual acting.
As for the rest of the cast well we have Forest Whitaker who seems to be coasting along in neutral and Matthew Fox, William Hurt as well as Sigourney Weaver who are all serious under used as the focal point of the movie tends to be Dennis Quaid's characters. Maybe in hind sight they have got off lightly but I am sure making each of their characters more prominent and interesting could have only helped the movie.
The one element which is good about "Vantage Point" is the special effects; they effect laden assassination scene and the chase scene go some way to liven up the film and combined with some good camera angles makes the tension of the moment quite real. Unfortunately special effects alone can't make "Vantage Point" a good film.
What this all boils down to is that there will be some who take to the repetitive footage gimmick a lot more than I do and hail "Vantage Point" as a breath of fresh air. But for me "Vantage Point" is a poor movie, with a weak storyline made worse by over use of a gimmick which could have made it a much greater movie than it turned out to be.