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Vantage Point (DVD Review)

29 Jun, 2008 By: John Latchem

Vantage Point

Street 7/1/08
Sony Pictures
Box Office $72.3 million
$28.96 DVD, $34.95 two-DVD set, $38.96 Blu-ray, $24.94 UMD
Rated ‘PG-13’ for sequences of intense violence and action, some disturbing images and brief strong language.
Stars Dennis Quaid, Matthew Fox, Sigourney Weaver, Forest Whitaker, William Hurt.

There’s something amusing about watching actors describe a mediocre film as if it’s the most profound experience of their career. You have to wonder if they truly believe that or if they’re just playing nice for the DVD production crew until they can get to the bank to cash their check.

For Vantage Point, they ruminate about the nature of perspective and the interesting dynamic inherent in such a storytelling device. In doing so, they overlook what the film really is.

The story begins in Spain with a news crew covering the president’s arrival at an anti-terror summit. As he steps forward to address the crowd, the president is shot, and in the ensuing chaos the venue is bombed. The film then zips back and forth through various incidents leading to and surrounding the assassination attempt, examining the same half-hour period from the perspective of many different characters, presenting one story, rewinding, and starting again from a different point of view. Like any mystery-thriller, the film holds back just enough information from the audience to build tension, gradually revealing new information to paint the bigger picture.

It’s more gimmick than substance. The script twists and turns to fill story holes with new contrivances, leaving viewers waiting for a shocking twist that never materializes. The plot threads converge without much resolution or explanation, and the film just kind of ends when it needs to.

In perusing the featurettes on the DVD, it’s clear the creative team behind the film had conceived a deeper story than that conveyed by the finished product. Director Pete Travis has assembled a cast of good actors who do their best with a screenplay that seems unsure of itself.

The powerhouse cast will certainly draw in curious viewers. Vantage Point may offer enough action and intrigue to entice fans of shows such as “24,” which involve characters speeding from one plot point to the next amid shifting allegiances.

Anyone enticed by the prospect of the advertised portable digital copy should be advised the download function is not compatible with Mac.

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