Vantage Point

This movie was pretty funny. What’s that you say, it wasn’t a comedy? Oh shit. Could’ve fooled me. I, along with the rest of the audience, got in a few good snickers. Call Vantage Point another squandering of immense talent. While certainly not terrible, I can’t say it was very good.

The movie examines the chaotic aftermath of an assassination attempt on the president that takes place in Spain, as the US and Spain prepare to enter into some sort of vague (trade?) agreement. As the title suggests, we see the event from multiple vantage points. We see it in “real time” initially, then the events “rewind” to several minutes before the attempt, and we see a new perspective. I don’t mind this technique, but I understand how it can be exasperating. After about the FOURTH time, the theater was laughing and groaning audibly. I don’t think that was the intended reaction. Marketed as a political action thriller with suspenseful twists and turns, Vantage Point failed to live up to its hype and instead played like a hodgepodge of stories, none of which was particularly intriguing – at least not to me. You’d think someone could make a better use of Forest Whitaker (The Last King of Scotland), Sigourney Weaver (The Village), and William Hurt (A History of Violence). These three are Oscar winners/nominees, and I think their combined presence elevates a movie, but they weren’t really used properly. For example, Forest Whitaker is superb, but his performance just seemed overdone – like it was too big for this silly little movie, if that makes any sense. It’s like I’m criticizing him for being too good, which is weird, I know. Sigourney Weaver had a throwaway role, which didn’t require much. She was onscreen for about 10-15 minutes, and that was it. William Hurt as the president did nothing more than act as a helpless victim, waiting for Dennis Quaid to save him. They had one really corny exchange at the end, where I thought they were actually going to kiss!

The theater I went to was packed, and I’m sure people expected a little more. Don’t get me wrong, Vantage Point wasn’t a total waste, but I had high expectations. I thought the plot devices were overdone, and the interlocking storylines felt superficial and contrived. It is what it is: a forgettable contribution to the political thriller genre.

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