Secret Service agents Thomas Barnes (Dennis Quaid) and Kent Taylor (Matthew Fox) are assigned to US President Ashton (William Hurt) for the duration of a landmark summit in Spain's Salamanca, where a global anti-terror initiative is to be announced. When the President is shot on the podium in the large public square, chaos is fuelled by two bomb blasts. From the crowd, US tourist Howard Lewis (Forest Whitaker) is camcording everything, while in the mobile GNN News centre, Rex Brooks (Sigourney Weaver) is producing the live to air news feed of the event. The vision captured provides some leads - with disturbing and unexpected results.
Review by Andrew L. Urban:
This pseudo-political action thriller is rather half baked editorially but otherwise overcooked. It's a slickly produced entertainment in the predictable and reliable Hollywood mode, with a strong cast. Dennis Quaid's special agent Barnes is making a nervous return to active duty after taking a bullet for the President a year before. Can he handle it? President Ashton is about to make a speech without his notes ... can he manage it? Will the war on terror be won after this summit? Who is shooting the President?
To these I could add a few unscripted questions, such as - why is Sigourney Weaver's character dropped out of the storyline half way through? Why does a 10 year old little girl who is separated from her mother after a bomb blast, wonder into the middle of a busy, traffic infested road looking for her?
The central events of the story are re-told from five different vantage points, including the news crew, the US tourist, a local secret agent, and the President himself. There are some twists that add to the tension, but the motivation for the attack is a somewhat vague editorial message that detracts from the film's prime mission to keep us entertained. Nor does the editorialising stand up to scrutiny. But the filmmakers do lay on a fancy car chase through the city and the action sequences are well handled.
Performances are all fine, as far as they go, but for a cast with such credentials, they don't get much of a chance to do much serious acting. Matthew Fox of TV's Lost fame makes a rare film appearance as Barnes' secret service colleague, in a role that is unlikely to catapult him into the big movie league - but that's through no fault of his. It's just the way his character is written.
Much like fast food, Vantage Point offers some instant gratification but will not burden your nights with leftover imaginings.
Email this article
MATTHEW FOX INTERVIEW,P>
VANTAGE POINT (M)
CAST: Dennis Quaid, Matthew Fox, Forest Whitaker, Sigourney Weaver, William Hurt
PRODUCER: Neal H. Mortitz
DIRECTOR: Pete Travis
SCRIPT: Barry R. Levy
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Amir Mokri
EDITOR: Stuart Baird, Sigvaldi J. Kárason, Valdís Óskarsdóttir
MUSIC: Atli Örvarsson
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Brigitte Broch
RUNNING TIME: 89 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Sony
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: March 13, 2008