The President of the United States (better known as POTUS to you and me) is about to give a speech at a massive Spanish anti-terrorism gathering, in which the world’s leaders will promise to work closer together in order to squash the ongoing global terror threat. But before he can even utter a word, he’s shot twice and his secret service agents are suddenly thrust into a chaotic situation, while another bomb goes off a few minutes after that. Six different points of view of the same event are then presented to us, as some decent action, thrills and Dennis Quaid scowling…ensues!
I’ve made no secret of the fact that I generally enjoy films a lot more if they offer an “original” take on a genre, an “original” way of shooting, an “original” way of telling a story or heck…an “original” story, period – although that last one seems to be almost impossible to come up with these days. VANTAGE POINT isn’t an entirely “original” story per se (Presidents seem to get assassinated in at least 2-3 movies a year), but at least the filmmakers decided to pepper this tale up with ties to the actual terrorist situation engulfing the world these days, as well as an always-entertaining way of telling such a story, which in this case involves about 6 different vantage points from folks who experienced the assassination from assorted points of view. The film doesn’t waste any time in getting things started and legitimizes itself by offering us the always-reliable Sigourney Weaver right off the top (Ripley!!!). From there, it does an excellent job of keeping things moving along nicely, despite seemingly going over the same scenario over and over again (it never really gets boring though, you’ll see). Props go out to all of the actors in the film, all of whom perform their parts effectively, particularly Dennis Quaid as the has-been secret service dude (PS: if you want to check out an entire film based around such a character, rent IN THE LINE OF FIRE and thank me later), Forrest Whitaker as the dad with the camcorder and Edgar Ramirez, an actor with a ton of charisma, but not enough opportunities to showcase them in enough films.
With each passing “vantage point”, the audience is given further insight into the assassination, and slowly but surely, things start coming together by the end. Unfortunately, the film only lasts about 85 minutes, and despite doing a solid job of entertaining my sorry-ass, packs a whole lot into its short frame, to the point that you might miss out on certain elements if you’re not paying attention to every single second. It also injects a couple of small subplots to its main core, one of which involves a small Spanish girl eating ice-cream, which ultimately turns into one of the more “unbelievable” sequences in the film. Granted, anyone can easily break down any movie that involves so many different people having to work together toward one goal, but on the whole, I thought this screenplay was well thought out, and presented without too many plot holes. At the same time, the film does squeeze a little bit of politics under its thrills, and even though I sorta figured out who one of the “baddies” was early on, that certainly didn’t prevent me from enjoying myself throughout the entire flick. Heck, they even toss a BOURNE IDENTITY
-esque car chase into the proceedings near the end, if that sort of shtick revs your engine. Rent it, watch it, enjoy it and don’t sit around breaking it all down afterwards…it’s a fun movie that isn’t supposed to be dissected a la 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY. Daaaaaave, just enjoy the movie, Dave…stop analyzing the shit out of it, Dave…