90 Min. | Crime – Drama – Mystery | March 2008
IMDB Rating: 6.6
Director: Pete Travis
Staring: Dennis Quaid, Forest Whitaker, Matthew Fox
Vantage Point Review: One crime, multiple vantage points. Sounds cool right? Yes. But “Vantage Point” never really pulls it off quite how it sets itself up to. The result is a cool action flick with some clever storytelling that sort of fizzles in the end. In “Vantage Point,” the President of the United States (William Hurt) arrives in Salamanca, Spain to give a speech on global terrorism efforts and ties with Spain to improve them. He gets shot and then a bomb goes off killing many people. We get this story through the eyes of a variety of characters and by the end of the film know exactly what happened. The cast is a solid mix of familiar and old faces. Dennis Quaid, Forest Whitaker, William Hurt, Matthew Fox and even Sigorney Weaver give Vantage Point the star power it requires. The terrorists are entirely new faces, which is no real surprise.
As Vantage Point first presents the vantage point concept, the first thirty or forty-five minutes develop a redundancy. You do get many new perspectives, but seeing the same events happen over and over again and the cheesy rewind sequences to establish a change in POV really gets a bit boring. Sometimes you’re not really seeing something new, just the same old thing in a new way that doesn’t really bring more insight into the plot. Sometime it does and it really helps the film, but mostly it’s not the vantage points, but cutting the story off at pivotal moments and clues into the mystery so that when they’re revealed in another perspective you can get excited. It’s just good storytelling, nothing unique.
Vantage Point really loses its appeal, however, with the “final perspective.” In fact, it’s not really anyone’s perspective. The writers sort of realized that adding five more perspectives to reveal the full mystery would really bother viewers and get absurdly repetitive, so they combined them all into a final twenty minute action sequence that is like any other normal action movie. Was deviating from the concept in order to please viewers and keep the film short the best course of action? For Vantage Point, yes. Sticking to the concept would have made it bad considering the complexity of the plot. But even the ending can also be seen about 15 minutes prior to when it happens, so it’s not really all that great. Vantage Point would have been better, however, if it could both stay true to the structural concept and please the viewer, which means first-time writer Barry Levy stretched his idea just a bit too far.