If trailers alone sold movies then the montage of clips from 'Vantage Point' should be on an Oscar list. Deceptively engaging and promising much, the trailer for this action movie pulls together the 30 seconds or so of standout material from the film and sets them to a dramatic soundtrack to brilliant effect, proving that what you see isn't always what you get.
The premise for this thriller sounds exciting, and rightly so. It looks at a day in the lives of the American president, two FBI agents and a news channel boss, amongst others. It's about an assassination attempt, bombings, corruption and duplicity. So far all the ingredients for a decent thriller are in place. Throw in an all-star cast, which includes Dennis Quaid, Forest Whitaker, William Hurt, Matthew Fox and Sigourney Weaver, and the movie is still heading in the right direction. So where does it all fall apart?
Thomas Barnes (Quaid) is an FBI agent, who has recently been on leave after taking a bullet for the US President. Returning to the fold he is met with scepticism by some of his colleagues until fellow agent Kent Taylor (Fox) advises that they cut him some slack. President Ashton (Hurt) is in Salamanca, Spain, for a summit on the global war on terror. The world is watching - and so is a would-be assailant. When an attempt is made on Ashton's life, the secret service agents go into overdrive, trying to protect the target and get his attacker off the streets.
The scenes in Salamanca are recorded from the prospective of eight different people - the secret service agents, the president, the attacker, a news crew covering the summit, a child at the event with her mother, a cop, the members of the terrorist gang, and even a tourist minding his own business on the day (Whitaker). The results of these different vantage points could have been interesting, had we not seen the same footage for each take on the happenings.
As it stands, what we end up with is a movie that feels lazy, lacking in any thought and coming off as the very opposite of engaging. Even the stellar cast does little to rescue this, with no charisma whatsoever on display. Most of the stars seem miscast and out of their comfort zones, making for a movie that feels sloppy and disjointed.
The narrative is loose, making you care less about the motives or outcome with every minute that passes. If the twists weren't so obvious, then maybe the brief moments of 'action' and the token car chase at the close might seem like redeeming features, but alas there is little to recommend this. If you could watch the first and last vantage point and cut out the hour of nonsense in between then maybe you'd be onto something, but just maybe.
Transition year students David O'Neill and Adam Brennan also viewed the movie for RTÉ.ie. Read their reviews below.
You may think by looking at the trailer for 'Vantage Point', filled with explosions and intensity, that this is just another action movie, and you would be right. The style of the film is quite interesting, although unoriginal. It shows the same event happen over and over again from different characters' points of view. Unfortunately, the writers seem to give up on this idea during the film and it turns into a generic 'save-the-day' shoot 'em up. That said, the film is not without its charm and, if you can get over the change in tempo and Dennis Quaid's complete lack of emotion throughout, you should find it enjoyable.
'Vantage Point' is a film which is quite different when compared to other action/thrillers. The camera takes you to visit the movie story from each characters' point of view, which isn't an original idea. Most of the film is extremely repetitive, which gets a little annoying as the same events are replayed over and over. Some action parts of the film are very like the TV show '24', which could make you love it or hate it. The movie is filled with sudden twists, which keep the viewer in suspense. The acting is excellent and it's refreshing to see a new film with good dialogue and an interesting plot.