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Vantage Point March 31, 2008

Posted by Sai in English, Movies, Reviews.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
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8 Strangers
8 Viewpoints
1 Big Unconvincing Gimmick

The American President is at an anti-terror summit. What better place for terrorists to strike? So they do. Now the filmmakers want to tell us who did it and why but they are quite bored with a straight narrative. So they decide to show the events unfolding through the eyes of 8 different people.

There are some eminently watchable players in Dennis Quaid (In Good Company, The Day After Tomorrow, Traffic), Forest Whitaker (The Last King of Scotland), Sigourney Weaver (The Village, Ghost Busters) and William Hurt (Syriana, A History of Violence). The excellent cast, apart from the promotions, were instrumental in making this film a box office success even if these actors didn’t need to do much more than sleepwalk through this and take their large paychecks to the bank when they woke up.

The main drawback of this film is its narrative. The implausibility is a given, so I won’t dwell on that. The story is taken forward with each retelling and it is fine but at the end of it all, one question remains. Was there a need for these (far too many but thankfully less than eight) replays? Does each viewpoint really provide something novel? The answer is a resounding NO. You could easily recut the film and make it complete without losing much (it would be a tad shorter too).

The Rashomon style retelling will always be interesting; no matter how many times it is reused. But it isn’t used the right way here (meaning it had no real purpose). If you were to take out that gimmick from this film, it is your average action thriller. The good thing is that they do manage to put this together well enough. Director Pete Travis makes sure that the action is slick (the chase scene towards the end is noteworthy). Barry Levy’s first screenplay does have some reasonably interesting parts like the viewpoint of the television crew. But then there are also some laughable or uninteresting, unnecessary twists and the assassination is made to seem far too easy at an event attended by the who’s who of the World’s premiers. Remote-controlled? Come on!

If you are expecting nothing more than a slick action thriller that helps you pass time, this might not disappoint. Expect anything more and it certainly will.

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