Episodic Anti-American Conspiracy Tale
Release Date: February 22, 2008
Starring: Dennis Quaid, Matthew Fox,
Forest Whitaker, Sigourney
Weaver, William Hurt, Edgar
Ramirez, and Ayelet Zurer
Audience: Older teenagers and adults
Runtime: 91 minutes
Distributor: Columbia Pictures/Sony
Director: Pete Travis
Executive Producer: Andrea Giannetti, Callum
Greene, Tania Landau, and Adam
Producer: Neal H. Moritz
Writer: Barry L. Levy
Address Comments To:Michael Lynton, Chairman/CEO
Amy Pascal, Chairman - Motion Picture Group
Sony Pictures Entertainment
(Columbia Pictures/TriStar/Screen Gems/Provident)
10202 West Washington Blvd.
Culver City, CA 90232-3195
Phone: (310) 244-4000
Fax: (310) 244-2626
Web Page: www.spe.sony.com/
While in Spain to sign a treaty at a landmark summit in the global war on terror, President Ashton is shot down by an assassin. Moments later, chaos ensues. Then, a bomb underneath the platform explodes, killing hundreds. Amid the confusion, Secret Service agents Thomas Barnes (Dennis Quaid) and Kent Taylor (Matthew Fox) must piece together the clues in order to catch the assassin.
Using video captured on a handheld camera from an innocent bystander (Forest Whitaker) as well as news footage from a TV news producer on the scene (Sigourney Weaver), the agents race to solve the mystery. As information unfolds, Barnes realizes that this assassination attempt is more than merely a single-shooter; instead, it is a large conspiracy that even includes some U.S. government agents.
As far as quality, VANTAGE POINT uses a RASHOMON narrative style that focuses on one character’s point of view until a critical cliffhanger; then, the narrative rewinds the movie and begins again from another character’s perspective. Although mildly successful, the narrative style plays out more like an abbreviated version of the hit Fox TV series, 24.
Sadly though, the technique becomes almost laughable by the fourth or fifth rewind. The problem with this movie is that the story concept is based on too much exposition, so the movie’s plot points feel sacrificed to the concept. In the style that the movie makers are attempting, they are successful. The style, though, is just too episodic for a big screen feature film. The action, though, deserves to be on the big screen. The inciting incident is attention-grabbing, and there are some exciting and nail-biting chase sequences throughout, so that is a positive credit to the filmmakers.
As far as content, the movie seems to be more of another exercise in anti-American politics, especially with regard to the global war on terror, than it is a thrilling, action-packed drama. The protestors outside the peace treaty signing are a thinly veiled criticism of the current presidential administration, even going so far as to actually have a quick shot of a “W” sign with an X over it, even though there is no reference to the Presidential character having a “W” anywhere in his name. There are multiple other negative comments about American foreign policy, the government, the arrogance of the U.S., etc.
Sadly, this negative view of America too often overshadows the action and drama of the movie. There is also a strong amount of violence and language, so media-wise viewers will want to be aware. All in all, VANTAGE POINT is exciting but too episodic and too anti-American. There are very good, patriotic movies available that audiences may enjoy more. For more patriotic movies, audiences should go to www.movieguide.org and see what other options may be in theatres or on home video.
VANTAGE POINT focuses on one character’s point of view until a critical cliffhanger; then, the narrative rewinds and begins again from another character’s perspective. Although mildly successful, the technique becomes almost laughable by the fourth or fifth rewind. Also, despite some exciting action and chase scenes, there is too much exposition. Finally, anti-American attitudes and some foul language too often overshadow the movie’s action and drama. Please visit movieguide.org to find more suitable, more patriotic movies to see.