Vantage Point takes the interesting, if not entirely original premise of showing the same event from eight different angles, each one revealing something new about the twenty-three minutes it focuses on. When you throw in the fact that the cast includes Sigourney Weaver, Dennis Quaid and Lost’s Matthew Fox along with the fact that said ‘event’ is the assassination of POTUS (President Of The United States, if you’ve never heard it said before, you will by the end of the film!) and you should have the material for a decent, action-packed blockbuster… the word ‘should’ there is the key one.
Much has been made about the fact that towards the end of the film Vantage Point abandons its central thread and turns into a car-chase based full-on action flick. This however, isn’t its main problem. The assassination of the President should, in anyone’s language be a fantastic and shocking piece of cinema but instead of enhancing the experience the idea of showing it from eight viewpoints makes it boring. We see pretty much the same thing every time and instead of making the plot any clearer it simply adds elements to be revealed in the final act. Dennis Quaid’s Secret Service agent sees something key on a monitor but the audience don’t, the director instead choosing to hold it back to ‘shock’ the audience with at the end and so we remain none the wiser as to what is going on.
If it was only boredom that this created it might be excusable when the shocks start rolling out come the end but the plot is so predictable you know exactly what’s going to happen, to who, when and even on some occasions, where. We don’t need eight viewpoints because after the first two, feel free to leave – you already know what’s going to happen.
The film gets an extra star for effort and premise, along with some decent scenes but beyond that there’s not much to recommend. The production design feels extremely ropey; in the big set-piece car chase one car seems to take a battering before miraculously repairing itself mid-race while the final chopper take off against what is obviously a still and actually rather grainy photograph of a Spanish skyline is terrible and unforgivable. It’s not even held together by decent performances. Quaid comes out as the best of a bad bunch, going through his motions without leaving first gear while Weaver is horribly wooden and although Fox has the look of a star he fails to display any of the talent to go with it. Supporting turns also fail to actually provide any tangible support and if this performance is anything to go by then Zoe Saldana’s turn as Uhura in the new Star Trek film is going to be one to miss as she resoundingly fails to even go through her motions in the role of stock character: argumentative news reporter.
The film’s premise is a decent attempt to break the stale action mode but by sticking to the genre conventions of bad acting, ropey dialogue and lazy design it stalls on square one. The final act is certainly not the worst bit of the film but many will have lost faith with it well before then.