Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Vantage Point Review


To give a brief summary of the plot: The president is due to give a speech at an important peace summit. That is until his is shot and shortly after the event he was speaking at was bombed. What follows is basically the explanation of what really happened from the Vantage Point of various people caught up in the terrorist attack.

Now I don’t know how to approach a film like this as I could see that it carries quite an overt political warning that basically legitimates the war on terror. The whole thing screams out to the American public that the terrorists are one step ahead of the US intelligence and also possess quite ridiculous levels of mobile technology. Now let’s remember one glaring flaw with this fact portrayed, and that is that terrorist’s budgets and technological know-how couldn’t possibly create a mobile phone (as there was in the film) that can blow up bombs remotely or control a remote gun. Then again it did to that end also come across a little like a Sony handheld device advert also, as in all the ‘vantage points’ a Sony Product (be it a video camera or a ‘super phone’) played an important part in the narrative.

Another problem with the narrative was that it did get a little tiresome seeing the same events portrayed time and again (the mayors speech especially). I have no problem with clever or unconventional narrative design (look at Tarantino for example or the Usual Suspects) although they sometimes over relied on specific markers which got annoying quickly.

However for all the nitpicking you can angle at the plot it is a typical action thriller plot, so you can forgive it for its discrepancies and applaud it for its attention to detail, although in some ways it succeeds and fails on both counts. Also for what it’s worth it does make for a compelling and interesting viewing although second time viewings would not be recommended.

Most of the praise for the film I mainly placed on the special effects and cinematography which is pretty much on the mark for a film like this. There’s some slow-mo, explosions, and fast editing thrown into the mix which have the desired effect on the viewer but it does seem almost a little too run of the mill. Yes it excites you at the time but in reflection it feels like the film was a little too business as usual in that sense.

Also the film boasts quite a stellar cast surprisingly, including big names such as Sigourney Weaver, Forest Whitaker and some other smaller but still good performances from Dennis Quaid and Said Taghmaoui (out of La Haine). However it feels like the big names are selling themselves a little short and they don’t feel like they fit into the mix properly.

Overall I would give it maybe 3 Stars out of 5 as it isn’t a bad film intrinsically although it does seem to have been cooked up by someone whose imagination was a little overactive and also the political and product placement shows.

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