Saturday, March 1, 2008

Movie Review: Vantage Point

This is a review of the movie, Vantage Point, starring Dennis Quaid, Matthew Fox, William Hurt and Forest Whitaker.

**Spoiler Alert**

OK. I don't think this review really contains any crucial spoilers, but anytime you write about movies, you're bound to give something away that people would rather have seen for themselves, so proceed with caution.

The one knock against this film that I've heard a few times so far from critics is that the repeated flashback structure becomes annoying. For those of you who are not familiar with the gimmick of this film, we are shown the same 5-or-so-minute sequence (the shooting of the President of the USA) from the perspectives of several different characters who witness it. Each time we get to a pivotal event during each sequence, the action "rewinds" back to moments before the shooting, and we are shown the next character's vantage point. The pivotal event or "cliffhanger" that was not fully revealed is then explained in one of the subsequent sequences. I actually thought this device was interesting and unique. It's really difficult for filmmakers to come up with ideas that have not been used in film before...that's why we see so many mediocre and derivative films. So I say that the director, Pete Travis, and the writer, Barry Levy, neither of whom who have really done any previous work of note, deserve some credit for making their first major box office offering different in some way.

All of the acting performances are pretty spot on, particularly that of Dennis Quaid, who plays a Secret Service agent returning to the job for the first time since taking a bullet for the President months earlier. Totally believable as a rugged, stoic but emotionally shaken Secret Service dude. It's also nice to see Matthew Fox in a role that is not just a retread of Dr. Jack Shephard from Lost. Whitaker's character is kind of lame, but he does with it what he can.

The big faux-pas they make is, of course, laying out one of the big reveals of the film in the trailer. If you've seen it, you know what it is, so I won't go into further detail. Not only was it unnecessary to make the trailer enticing to moviegoers, but it severely impacts the emotional response from the audience during the viewing of the actual movie. However, I think there are a couple of other major reveals in the film that are not known this carries the drama factor despite the misstep in the coming attractions.

One positive I've heard about the film that I would actually count as a negative, is the car chase. I thought it was over-the-top and didn't really add much to the experience.

The film suffers another demerit for never revealing the motivation of the bad guys. I suppose this isn't incredibly important in the grand scheme of things, but I prefer when a movie ties up the loose ends. However, this is somewhat redeemable by the very last line of dialogue in the film, which is a nice touch (that's all I'll say about that).

All in all, there won't be any awards bestowed on this film, but as an action-thriller, it works. It's an enjoyable use of an hour and a half of your time on the weekend.

Overall rating: 7 out of 10 stars/B

No comments: