Vantage Point

One assassination attempt, 23 minutes, many perspectives. That, in a nutshell, is what Vantage Point is all about. The US President has been shot while speaking in Spain, and the scene is recounted again and again, each perspective revealing more and more of the overall story. It's not a new concept - the style was first popularised in the 50's Japanese film Rashomon - but it's highly effective when used well (think the pivotal changing-room scene in Jackie Brown for instance).

Unfortunately, Vantage Point, to my mind, gains little from the technique, or at least not enough for it seem worthwhile. Some of the perspectives seem ponderous - Forest Whitaker's segment has a some horrendously soppy and sluggish points (and for some reason, he always seems to be on the verge of tears).

It's not all bad, however. The President's perspective happens to be one of the more interesting segments, which sets up some fairly interesting plotlines. Unfortunately, the film fails to capitalise on these, which is a real pity. The terrorist's perspective, however, is by far the most disappointing. Armed with a mobile phone with a simply ludicrous level of connectivity and versatility (it can remotely operate a rifle, a fan and detonate a bomb, among other things), our terrorist runs around causing all sorts of chaos. The problem is, the film never inspired me to suspend disbelief, so all of these things just seemed silly. In addition to this, absolutely no effort is ever made to explore the terrorists' motivations - for one terrorist in particular, this is incredibly frustrating and a major plot hole - watch it and you'll know what I mean.

Finally, the method by which the terrorists become undone left me fuming at its deus ex machina-ic nature - we are supposed to believe that terrorists who have detonated two bombs in crowded areas, kidnapped a man and shot him, and abducted the President of the United States have sufficient conscience to crash their escape vehicle in an attempt to avoid hitting a little girl on the road. Rubbish, and it heavily detracts from the story for me.

William Hurt, Sigourney Weaver and relative unknown Eduardo Noriega are just about the only actors in this who didn't leave me irritated by their characters. Overall, I couldn't give this anything more than a C. Very missable.

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