If you think you have seen it all, look again. Vantage Point director Pete Travis has assembled a topnotch cast to selfishly exploit the thought of global terrorism. Pacing a half an hour of a fatal day from multiple points of view, the screenplay tosses the story upside down and every which way before actually making progress in the story. The film has no rhythm resulting in unintentional laughs and outbursts of frustration, which outnumber the moments of suspense. If you think this film is the best action film of the year, look again.
Two secret service agents (Dennis Quaid and Matthew Fox) are assigned to protect the President of the United States (William Hurt) at a summit in Spain about world terrorism. Chaos ensues when the President is shot and shortly afterwards a bomb explodes killing many people. The two service agents have to recuperate to catch the assassin, unknown to the fact that something much bigger is at work.
The plot focuses on 8 stranger’s points of view, the plot being rewound several times to the beginning of the story to focus on what the different characters were doing at that particular time. The multiple rewinds conveys to the audience how each individual stranger reaches that point in the story, including their roles as being pieces to the puzzle that combine to complete the big picture. In comparison to Groundhog Day on steroids, the rewinds become frustrating to watch taking away from the overall flow of the film making each rewind redundant. With multiple points of view of the same scenes, the film lacked the precise editing needed to ensure that every point of view coincides with the others. The film comes to a disappointing conclusion leaving many loose ends and many viewers in the audience asking, “What just happened and why?” I found a couple of the points of view unnecessary and pointless to the development of the story, such as Forest Whitaker and Sigourney Weaver’s characters. This film should have only lasted about 30 minutes, but with the redundant rewinds, the film lasted an hour and a half. With a better developed story, better acting, and the lose of the rewinds, this could have been an entertaining, edge-of-your-seat thriller. Instead, the audience finds itself feeling confused and antsy waiting for the moment the film finally moves forward.
Even with a topnotch acting ensemble, the acting itself was poorly performed with too much overacting and a lack of developing believable characters. Dennis Quaid and William Hurt give their best efforts to try and save this film, but it is not enough. Director Pete Travis seemed out of his element and overwhelmed with this film. He had one of the main characters getting into two very fatal car accidents during a high speed chase, in resemblance to the high speed chase in The Bourne Ultimatum, and coming out with barely a scratch, while the terrorists never seemed to fare nearly as well. Too much reliance on the fancy, when the simple would have been good enough.
Being rated PG-13 for sequences of intense violence and action, some disturbing images and brief strong language, this film is not for children under the age of 13. This film requires extreme patience as the story takes a while to develop. If you are one that is easily frustrated by a slow moving film, Vantage Point is not for you. The best vantage point for seeing this film may just be from the parking lot outside the theater.