Film Review: Vantage Point
Not many trailers made in the past 10 years misrepresent the film they are promoting. Sadly, Vantage Point breaks that rule. By allowing me the room to figure out the entire movie through footage oversaturation, I didn’t have a huge urge to run to the theaters, hence the late review. But alas, seven days after the film’s release, I was able to go into the theater without a hint of outside ruination, no real mention of the big twists, nor who was evil and why. So to keep the film pure, and leave any future audience members unscathed, I’ll try to keep the dignity of the film intact and not give much away in the review.
With that in mind: This movie wasn’t very good. Albeit the concept isn’t exactly original (See Rashomon), the filmmakers here had a perfect opportunity to bring something as innovative and provocative as Rashomon to Hollywood and thus, to a Hollywood audience. Instead, the concept was left half-assed and basically unfinished, leaving holes in continuity that you could drive a Mack Truck through and backstory for only one character, reduced to a single line of exposition.
For those of you not entirely familiar with the concept of the movie, Vantage Point was adevrtised as featuring eight different perspectives (in truth, it’s only five) of the assassination of the President of the United States. Each gives a little more insight to the overall story, while leaving you at the edge of your seat each and every time you see a part of the story. At the end of the film, you’ll feel fairly manipulated, but that won’t compare to the complete lack of compassion you have for any of the characters.
The biggest fault here was filling the picture with names like Sigourney Weaver, Dennis Quaid, and Forest Whitaker to make us believe that these people would actually be important in the film. They’re not. In fact, Dennis Quiad is the only character that gets any backstory, and as mentioned earlier, it’s boiled down to one line of exposition. He’s the “burned veteran”, apparently, which is supposed to make the audience even happier if/when he saves the day at the end of the movie. In a movie about terrorism, there needs to be a Captain America, and Quaid — much like Cap — should die about six times in the movie, but remains only a little dirty with a limp by the end of the flick.
And this brings us to those colossal continuity holes. A word of advice: when you throw a clock up on the screen more than three times in the span of 90 minutes, try to stay within the realm of time and space. We are thrown back to noon at the beginning of each story, and when you see the same events happen in order, it’s hard to believe that they happen in a different order the next time around. This is either lazy editing or, well… Okay, it’s just lazy editing. Next time, take a page out of Brian Grazer’s book on how things need to happen on a minute-by-minute basis. Jack Bauer never goes to the bathroom: continuity flub or does terrorism not stop for pee-breaks?
One more thing that irked me about this picture was the underlying political commentary. Now I know a movie about terrorism is bound to take shots at the real world where we are actually fighting terrorism, but at the end of the film when the bad guy utters, “this war will never end!” as his last words, you have to roll your eyes. We get it: war is bad. But when I go to see a movie that doesn’t have “A Michael Moore Film” under the title, I don’t expect to be sideswiped with political digs like that.
In total, Vantage Point had so much potential, but because of the need to live up to blockbusters like Bourne Ultimatum and Casino Royale, an original concept then becomes tainted with audience manipulation and ridiculous car chases. Sadly, if they didn’t follow the trend and drop the silly car chase, I seriously doubt it would have made the money needed to beat a shirtless Matthew McConaughey and a jumping Anakin Skywalker.