Director: Pete Travis
Starring: Dennis Quaid, Matthew Fox, Forest Whitaker, Bruce McGill, Edgar Ramirez, Said Taghmaoui, Ayelet Zurer, William Hurt, Sigourney Weaver, Zoe Saldana, Eduardo Noriega
Novice director Pete Travis’ inaugural big screen effort is a surprisingly taut action effort that manages to juggle lots of characters, and a complex plot, in a reasonably efficient manner. This is no small feat, even for a seasoned director, so Travis may be a guy to watch. The characters are soundly developed, considering their numbers and the acting is also commendable, though, Quaid overacts in the lead role. The intriguing story uses a modified Rashomon narrative style, which focuses on five characters’ differing perceptions of events during the same time period. This style kept me riveted to the unfolding story, though some character actions didn’t always make sense (especially at the end) and this puts a strain on the film’s credibility, but it is an action movie, so I won’t judge that too harshly. The movie flies back and forth at a lightning pace, as you would expect with this story style, with each character adding something to the viewer’s understanding of the events. The action scenes are chaotically filmed in the now-familiar, close-up style and are a little difficult to follow, but are not overdone, which is always a pleasant surprise. The end result, here, is an enjoyable action picture.
Dennis Quaid is Thomas Barnes, a Secret Service hero, who returns to duty, just in time to join the detail guarding the president (played by William Hurt) during a political, anti-terrorist rally in Spain. Security threats cause a last minute decision to replace the president with a double (has this ever happened?), which is probably good, since the double is shot as soon as he steps up to speak. Explosions, confusion and panic follow, and poor Mr. Barnes has a rocky return to active duty. A Spanish police officer, a visiting American tourist (Forest Whitaker), several Secret Service agents and others all have a different take on the events and this original method of unfolding the story is effective. My attention was riveted, and only an ending that could stand improvement kept this movie from getting a higher rating. Ask yourself this: Why is this guy suddenly worried about killing someone?
Vantage Point is a satisfying, fast-paced action film that will please fans of the genre, while providing a pleasant surprise to those with low expectations. Denzel Washington’s Deja Vu from last year, had a similar pace and cleverly stretched plotline, though similarities end there. Imagine In The Line of Fire, if it were sped up and told in a twenty minute time frame, and you will have some idea of what to expect here.
Director: Pete Travis