“Vantage Point” was directed by Pete Travis and written by Barry Levy. The attempted assassination of the President of the United States is told from several different points of view until all the pieces come together. Members of the cast include Dennis Quaid, Forest Whitaker, Matthew Fox, William Hurt, Edgar Ramirez, Zoe Saldana, and Sigourney Weaver.
In this ensemble piece, the editing and pacing of the movie was very strong. The car chase scene was one of the better ones I’ve seen, it was very exciting and engaging. Some of the twists and turns in the plot were very predictable but others were pretty enjoyable. Part of the fun of watching this movie is trying to solve it before they come out and tell you what happened. It almost reminded me of the first few episodes of “Lost” where each character’s perspective of where they were and what they were doing when the plane crashed ending with something suspenseful. Eventually it all converges on the same city block.
On the flip side of that, I think too many perspectives were used. Usually about three is a good number to go with in telling different versions of a story, beyond that it gets a little cluttered and unorganized. At the fourth time, I was like, “Really? We’re going back to 11:59am AGAIN?” Despite all that, it only has a 90 minute running time because the back story on characters is very brief and given through conversations so it all mostly converges on the assassination attempt and aftermath.
Sigourney Weaver and Zoe Saldana are very underutilized in this film. They show up in the beginning to show the newscasters’ perspective of the events with Saldana as a reporter trying to throw her own commentary on the event along with the news and Weaver shutting her down as the editor. This leads into Quaid’s back story of his Secret Service Agent career with Matthew Fox.
Forest Whitaker plays a tourist watching the whole slew of events through his camcorder and he veers between awestruck delight at his surroundings to distressed terror and determination for some reason to run down the bad guys and try to capture all the evidence he can with his camera. Granted, he does capture many relevant moments in footage, but the average tourist of his size risking his life is pretty surprising since he isn’t an off-duty Jack Bauer or anything. William Hurt’s performance as the President is very brief (like many performances in the film) and he mostly fiddles with paperwork and rides in cars.
Matthew Fox’s performance was the most predictable with no surprises whatsoever. He plays the same stubborn guy he plays in “Lost” but as a Secret Service Agent instead of a surgeon. I would be so relieved if Jack on “Lost” somehow got offed in this last season. I could care less who Kate chooses, I think the biggest surprise would be if she chose Claire instead of Jack or Sawyer.
All in all, this is an exciting thriller with very short performances and maybe a few too many versions to the story, but edited together very well.