ScrimismsPresently suffering a dearth of witticisms
Movies15 Mar 2008

…then you don’t have a very good plan. Even if that one guy happens to be “ex-special-ops”.

Saw “Vantage Point” today. It’s an action movie about assassinating the president of the USA at an anti-terrorism summit in Spain. The title refers not to the plot but rather to the film’s structure. The same sequence of events is replayed several times from the perspectives of various characters, revealing a little more of the story each time. By following one character at a time as each hurtles through their version of events rather than cutting back and forth between them, the movie manages to keep up a frantic sense of pacing. It is perhaps the most “non-stop” movie I’ve seen since Run Lola Run, whose structure could well have inspired this movie.

The film contains an adequate “sinister conspiracy” and some genuine suspense, as well as obligatory car chases, so it works well as a fun action flick. We don’t learn much about any of the characters though. The most interesting of the bunch (the rest, as David Denby noted in his New Yorker review, are largely cardboard cutout heroes or villains) gets treated the least completely, which is too bad.

The film does have one other interesting element: the first iteration follows a crew in a news van from a Fox-News like network as they juggle live feeds of the President’s public appearance and resolutely refuse to show any footage of the massive protest just outside the square where the President is to make his speech. It’s a neat twist, though one wonders if the film’s American audience would have any clue as to why there might be a protest at a world anti-terrorism summit in the first place. The film wastes no time in explaining such trivialities. Instead, it’s all about who shot POTUS and the Secret Service man whose gonna catch those evil-doers.

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