What’s the point of ‘Vantage Point?’ | VailDaily.com

What’s the point of ‘Vantage Point?’

Charlie Owen
Vail, CO, Colorado
Agent Thomas Barnes (Dennis Quaid) interogates a suspect after the U.S. president is assassinated in Spain. Quaid is just one of eight characters whose perspective we follow in the movie "Vantage Point."

You gotta hand it to the creators of the movie “Vantage Point.” They tried hard to separate it from the rest of the action/terrorist-plot/car chases-in-foreign-countries films that have been released in recent years ” and they almost succeeded.

The different “vantage points” we get to watch in this film occur in a sequence that is meant to distort the plot until the very end of the movie. This gimmick works, but unfortunately we also have to sit through eight of them and it gets tedious and annoying pretty quick. The constant rewinding and rehashing of plot devices eventually gave me a headache.

Welcome to Spain, where American President Ashton (William Hurt) is assassinated during a summit on the global war on terror ” or is he? The audience is quickly thrust into a world of double-crosses and violence as we see the events leading up to and following the assassination from the various vantage points of those near the assassination, one at a time. Eventually it opens up to linear narration, revealing how each member of the cast has affected the outcome of the plot. It’s a little bit “Crash” and a little bit “Bourne Identity.”

Just whose eyes do we get to see through? Dennis Quaid is a plastic secret service agent, Forest Whitaker plays an American tourist who just happens to be video-taping everything in the area, Sigourney Weaver plays a tough TV news producer named Rex and Said Taghmaoui plays the terrorist mastermind behind the plot to kill the president.

Of course that’s only four of the eight, but you see how tedious it sounds already.

By the time you are taken through each of the character’s perspectives much has been learned. Of course, some of the good guys are really bad, some of the innocent bystanders aren’t so innocent and the president’s not really dead (not a spoiler if you’ve seen any of the trailers already). That’s the twist that should have been kept a secret, but it does lead to more interesting twists, so that fault can be overlooked.

Director Pete Travis keeps the action revved up for the entire running time and in the end, he treats us to a spectacular car-chase scene that almost makes up for the way he starts spoon-feeding the audience all the plot resolutions.

As an action movie, “Vantage Point” is a great watch but that’s about as deep as it really goes. The political commentary is kept to a minimum despite all the opportunities presented for such diatribe. It never dares to cross the line and point fingers at America for its role in the war on terror, but it isn’t exactly sympathetic to the terrorists either. It’s as if the movie can’t decide which side it’s on even though America clearly comes out on top. In the end it’s just another thriller ” entertaining but heartless.

High Life writer Charlie Owen can be reached at 748-2939 or cowen@vaildaily.com.

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