Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Vantage Point

Vantage Point attempts to be Rashomon For Dummies, but even dummies are likely to be personally offended by the nun-punching awfulness of this cinematic diarrhoea.

While attending a terror summit in Spain, the US President is the target of an assassination attempt. We see what may be generously referred to as "the story" from the point of view of a bunch of different characters, including a TV crew, the president's bodyguard, a Spanish police officer, and a tourist. The film attempts to weave a suspenseful mystery out of these competing narratives but the real mystery is whether Dennis Quaid thinks he's acting or whether his face is just twisted up like that all the time.

The film can't even hold to its sole gimmick. About two thirds of the way through the movie the director (Pete Travis, on his first big screen outing) does away with the whole multiple viewpoints nonsense and puts the rest of the filmic offal in sequential order. This allows him the opportunity for a reasonably good car chase but leaves the viewer wondering if Travis just got bored of the gimmick or realised that making a watchable film was completely beyond him, let alone a watchable clever film.

Veteran actors Sigourney Weaver (Alien, Gorillas in the Mist) and William Hurt (The Good Shepherd, Broadcast News) struggly bravely in poorly-written roles but their time on screen is all too brief and their dialogue is ear-gratingly annoying. You'll instead be seeing a lot of Matthew Fox (Lost, Party of Five) leading a cadre of terrorists so generically evil that they may as well be twirling their moustaches and tieing the president to a train track. Their motives don't seem to stretch far past a general dislike for the United States, and while step 1 of the plan seems to be to kidnap the president, and step 3 is probably profit, step 2 is never even mentioned.

I don't often think about walking out of the cinema, but Vantage Point was definitely touch and go. The rubbish on offer here would look bad coming from something made-for-TV; paying $15 to see it with strangers is a con of epic proportions. Avoid as though it were Robo-Hitler.


Arkem said...

But I like Robo-hitler he's so much more mechanical than regular Hitler.

Juffles said...

I'm sorry, Matthew Fox is a terrorist in this movie? I wouldn't be able to watch it without thinking "Ahh, he's a terrorist, but he looks after his skin!"

(Saw WAY too much of him doing bloody L'Oreal ads during the rugby world cup *hurk*)

ChrisBateman said...

"nun-punching awfulness"

Truly, your choice of phrases are inspired, Greg. :)

Greg Tannahill said...

I can't help but think that Matthew Fox is the same character in every movie. After looking after his dysfunctional brothers and sisters after the death of his parents, he went into doctoring and got stranded on a mysterious island. Later he joined a terrorist cell. The character progression seems unforced and believable.

Chris - I'm pretty sure that as a society, we can only agree on three things as being unequivocally bad: punching nuns, kicking puppies, and Hitler. I have to rotate regularly through them to ensure that none become stale.