Vantage Point

Vantage Point

With a Rashômon narrative style, the attempted assassination of the American president (William Hurt) on a visit to Spain is told from several different perspectives.

Thomas Barnes (Dennis Quaid) and Kent Taylor (Matthew Fox) are two Secret Service agents assigned to protect the president at a landmark summit on the global war on terror. In the crowd is Howard Lewis (Forest Whitaker), an American tourist videotaping the historic event to show his kids when he returns home. Also there is Rex (Sigourney Weaver), an American TV news producer who is reporting on the conference. Each one of these people has witnessed a part of the puzzle.

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Flicks Review

Reminiscent of an episode of 24, complete with narrative gimmickry, Vantage Point comes across as an entertaining television pilot; fast-paced, tightly edited, but ultimately lightweight.

The American President (William Hurt) is on a diplomatic visit to Spain when an assassination attempt throws the events into chaos. The event is witnessed from several different perspectives; a television director (Sigourney Weaver), a tourist (Forrest Whittaker), and a bodyguard (Dennis Quaid) amongst others. At the end of each section, time rewinds and we move on to the next character to see his or her experience. In some cases, we see certain moments in a new light.

The format and structure of the film is actually more interesting than the chronological story itself, which borders on ludicrous. About forty-five minutes into the film we are presented with a ridiculous plot twist which any sane person would never buy. The director of the excellent Irish drama Omagh is surely having a bit of fun here. He’s asking us to relax and have a bit of a laugh. He doesn’t want us to think about how a man can walk from a horrific car crash without even a limp.

The film concludes with a breakneck car chase that takes a leaf out of Bourne’s book; the editing is frantic, but there’s no disguising that the car’s basically hurtling along the same street whilst being filmed from several angles. Sometimes it even looks like the footage has been sped up to make the cars appear to travel faster.

The rewinding effect, complete with gloop-gloop-gloop backward noises, becomes a little irritating after a while. But the experience of watching these narratives pieced together from each character is nonetheless quite a fun process.

Vantage Point is a tightly edited film with a reasonably brief running time. And while it is basically just an extended gimmick with a silly story, you could do a lot worse for some light weekend entertainment.

The Peoples' Reviews

Average ratings from 2 ratings, 2 reviews
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Despite a quality cast, most are overshadowed by the storyline and also the way the cast time on screen is split up. Dennis Quaid, the films main character does provide us with a very good performance and does standout.
The feel and flow of the film is clearly the big winner, as we are drawn into every second of the film – clung to our seats as we start second guessing the outcome. The accolades for this are due to the director, Pete Travis who helps gives the film a fresh new twist in the... More genreHide

I thought the plot of the film was good but got totally frustrated with the clock going back and forth,and endless car chases.
Became very boring and couldnt survive the end walked out!

The Press Reviews

35% of critics recommend.
Rotten Tomatoes Score. More reviews on Rotten Tomatoes

  • BBC

    Vantage Point is an average thriller built on a neat gimmick. The idea is this: We see US president William Hurt assassinated at a Spanish summit. In fact, we see it happen eight times, from different eight points of view. So, we get Sigourney Weaver's TV news producer trying to cover the story, Dennis Quaid's secret service man searching for the shooter, Forest Whittaker's tourist filming the whole thing on his camcorder, and so on. Gradually, these frayed threads cohere into an extremely implausible whodunit. Full Review

  • Loaded with cliches, but there's enough action and unexpected twists to keep you interested for an hour and a half - if you can stand the Groundhog Day elements. Full Review

  • Some okay thrills with good performances and some smarts. But the last reel plunge spoils things. Myth for the new millennium: any average, out-of-shape middle-aged Yank, including the President, can get in a punch-up with a few well-armed, super-trained terrorists, and win. Full Review

  • Straight out of the slice-and-dice school of filmmaking, Vantage Point fractures chronology and perspective in a vain attempt to disguise its flimsiness. Full Review

  • This is competent if completely impersonal filmmaking of a familiar type that finds the usual allotment of famous, or at least famous enough, actors. Full Review

  • A one-trick cinematic gimmick whose sleight of hand fails to disguise its shortcomings, this big-budget, big-name thriller is little more than a long and frustrating prelude to an unremarkable car chase. Full Review

  • The movie is best seen as straightforward, sometimes harrowing melodrama, packed with mistaken identities, beautiful villains, a kindly tourist who can outrace the bad guys, and a lost little girl whom the film brazenly sends onto a highway full of speeding cars. It's as if Dakota Fanning had wandered onto the streets of Ronin. Full Review