Vantage Point

Posted February 21, 2008 in Film

Bunkered in a news van, Sigourney Weaver edits history. Her crew is in Spain covering an anti-terrorism meeting of allied world leaders and the last thing the folks back stateside want to see is European protesters brandishing photos of President Ashton (William Hurt) labeled “#1 Terrorist.” It’s 12:23PM and without warning the crowded town square is rocked by two bullets to the President’s chest and two giant explosions.  At this tense peak, Pete Travis’ thriller rewinds to noon and continues replaying the chaos as seen through half a dozen people’s eyes including a Spanish cop (Eduardo Noriega), a Secret Service bodyguard (Dennis Quaid), a vacationer-turned-citizen journalist (Forest Whitaker). Barry Levy’s script slavers for comparisons to Rashomon but misses the point. Akira Kurosawa argued that truth was slippery; Levy believes there’s one answer, he just likes withholding it. Besides their political beliefs, no one in Vantage Point is in disagreement about the facts—they just don’t know all of them yet and those who think they do are kidding themselves. It’s a zippy, if contrived, little flick that successfully establishes that the world is dangerously (not morally) complicated, but then pacifies its audience with unsatisfying coincidences and a gone-commando hero turn by Quaid. I’m sure Quaid can accomplish great things. Resolving the War on Terrorism with a badass car chase? Not so much. (Amy Nicholson)



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