Saturday, 28 November 2009

Film Review: VANTAGE POINT (2008)

Director: Pete Travis
Running time: 86 mins (approx)
Certificate (UK): 12A

Watched on DVD Saturday 28th November 2009.


Set in Salamanca, Spain, this film tells the story of an assassination attempt on the American President. Seen through the eyes of eight witnesses, we get eight different points of view of the attack. From these different perspectives we can then determine who is responsible.

The president is attending a summit in Spain to work out a treaty on terrorism. Starting with the coverage of a TV station we see the events leading up to and including the assassination attempt on his life. We then rewind and see the same events from the perspective of presidential guards, Thomas Barnes and Kent Taylor. Barnes has just returned to duty having been injured protecting the President from a shooting attempt. As with each of the different ‘vantage points’ used, we get to see a little bit more of the action and glimpses of who is behind the assassination attempt. An American tourist, Howard Lewis has an interesting perspective, being in the crowd with his video camera as events unfold. I won’t detail all of the perspectives; I’ll be here all night!

A very well made and exciting film with a great car chase thrown in. Filmed partly in Mexico and also in Spain, it had the look and feel of a Spanish town. Good performances from all of the major cast, Dennis Quaid as Thomas Barnes, Matthew Fox as Kent Taylor, Forest Whitaker as Howard Lewis, Bruce McGill as Phil McCullough, Édgar Ramírez as Javier, Saïd Taghmaoui as Suarez, Ayelet Zurer as Veronica, Zoe Saldana as Angie Jones, Sigourney Weaver as Rex Brooks and William Hurt as President Ashton.

Over all, a decent action thriller, but it had one major fault. We are never told why the bad guys are trying to kill the President. I guess it is assumed that US foreign policy is to blame, but there is no background at all on the terrorists. This, for me, totally unbalanced the plot and made a bit of a mockery of the whole film. I’m still going to give it a reasonable score because the production was pretty good, it’s just a shame the script didn’t give us a bit more depth.

My score: 6.6/10

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