Sunday, March 09, 2008

Vantage Point

Vantage Point, directed by Pete Travis, is an old-school whodunit suspense flick told with new-school style and technique.

Visiting Spain, the American President is warned there will be an attempt on his life during an appearance in a crowded public square by a terrorist group. Although efforts are put in place to protect him, the complex plan of the terrorists is carried out over the course of less than thirty minutes in real time, and the President is compromised. Efforts to save him and solve the mystery of how the plot was carried out are put into place, and carried out in urgent, break-neck speed.

If told in regular movie format, Vantage Point would be simply another movie with a less than average plot relying on action alone to make it interesting. But, the flick is told in a unique style: each of the main characters witness the events from various perspectives, and each has a clue to who the terrorists are, and how they carried out their plot. Vantage Point tells each person's story in 10 to 15 minutes segments until the conclusion is wrapped up neatly from all the clues collected.


The movie plays out one perspective scenario then, literally, rewinds that scene and begins a new one involving another character. It's such an unusual technique that at first it's annoying. During the first two or three times it's done, the audience I saw the movie with complained out loud.

But the clues being fed to the audience come quickly and are obviously important in trying to figure out the conclusion, so folks began to accept the technique soon. The acting takes a backseat to the action in Vantage Point--the flick has one of the better car chase scenes I've seen in a while--but again, this isn't a movie you'd watch in order to enjoy good acting.

It's the technique that's important, and it works pretty well here.

5 comments:

JDB said...

So, it's like Roshomon but twice as long?

The Film Geek said...

Yep, and without colorful robes.

jedijawa said...

Funny. The Onion also used that Roshomon comparison but they were less than impressed with the plot device of this one. I might still have to check it out based on your review.

iremonger said...

The 'twist' was a bit silly, wasn't it? I was a little annoyed by the plot device - just when you started getting interested, they pull you out of the action.

The Film Geek said...

It wasn't that realistic, to be sure. And many were annoyed with the plot device. After the second time through, though, I liked it.