Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Vantage Point (2008)

The one is a freshman trying to fake it as a senior.

(Spoiler Alert: Read at Your Own Risk!)

US President Henry Ashton (William Hurt) appears at a counter-terrorism summit in Salamanca, Spain. He is shot in an assassination attempt (2nd in two years). Thomas Barnes (Dennis Quaid) took the bullet for the president in the first assassination attempt a year earlier and this is his first day back on the job. Once the president is shot, Barnes is off running and driving through Salamanca to find the assassin.

The plot is flimsy. You are fed to believe that Barnes is so good, that after 90 minutes of chase, he will be the hero (of course--that's set up early on). The caricatures of secondary characters offer their shallow takes on what happened from their perspectives. For example, Howard Lewis (Forrest Whitaker') is an American and he's filming everything. When a stranger approaches him in the crowd, Lewis is immediately open and reveals he's having a rough patch in his marriage and not with his wife and kids. I was certain the stranger was going to create trust and then a distraction would occur and Lewis would end up pickpocketed. Doesn't work out this way but much worse--Lewis ends up a hero.

Vantage Point also committed the peeve of having characters with Spanish accents speaking in English. It would be much more effective to have them actually communicate in Spanish and offer subtitles, but that would alienate many of their target audience (I'm always surprised by the number of folks that complain about having to read subtitles).

This movie is weak and boring. The car chases down these small streets go on for so long and a kid runs out in the middle of it. In the end, Barnes saves the president in the most unbelievable way. Skip this crap.

Themes: presidential assassination attempts, kidnapping, car chases

Director: Pete Travis

Country: US

Genre: Drama

Minutes:  89 minutes

Scale: 2

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