"Episodic Anti-American Conspiracy Tale"
What You Need To Know:
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.
(Pa, B, P, APAP, VV, LLL, N, MM) Mostly mixed pagan worldview with some elements of morality and good versus evil as U.S. citizens are heroes who are honest and heroic and one Secret Service agent is self-sacrificing, but set amid strong anti-American sentiment as story takes place at a peace treaty signing in Spain where a U.S. president is assassinated, protestors are seen outside with anti-U.S. signs, anti-presidential signs call the President the “world’s #1 terrorist,” terrorists are seen as one step ahead of the U.S. government, terrorist says that “the beauty of American arrogance is that they can’t imagine a world where they’re not a step ahead,” one Secret Service agent is a traitor, and one terrorist says of the War on Terror that “this war will never end”; 18 obscenities and 16 profanities; strong violence includes presidential assassination and bombing explosion seen multiple times from various perspectives with many people dead and some people seen on fire from the bomb, many people shot, a few people stabbed, U.S. president kidnapped, car chase sequences with many car wrecks, etc.; no sex; brief naturalistic upper male nudity seen from behind as man puts on a shirt; no alcohol; no smoking or drugs; and, conspiracy, lying and blackmail.
VANTAGE POINT, which stars top Hollywood talent like Dennis Quaid, Matthew Fox, Forest Whitaker, Sigourney Weaver, and William Hurt, is a modern-day political thriller that follows a presidential assassination as it unfolds from the perspectives of eight different people.
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.