Vantage Point movie review: Thomas Barnes (Dennis Quaid) and Kent Taylor (Matthew Fox) are two Secret Service agents assigned to protect President Ashton (William Hurt) at a landmark summit on the global war on terror. When President Ashton is shot moments after his arrival in Spain, chaos ensues and disparate lives collide. In the crowd is Howard Lewis (Forest Whitaker) an American tourist video-taping the historic event to show his kids when he returns home. Also there is Rex (Sigourney Weaver) an American TV news producer who is reporting on the conference. It's only as we follow each person's perspective of the same 15 minutes prior to and immediately after the shooting that the terrifying truth behind the assassination attempt is revealed.
The nominal hero is Quaid, who shoulders his way through the film with an expression that suggests he's trying to pass a kidney stone. But since Vantage Point keeps going over the same 23 minutes with a new character each time, it's hard to feel much sympathy for anyone. The terrorists, who have somehow arranged the whole assassination on their personal organisers, are mere foreign-looking ciphers - we're never told the purpose of their plot.
Vantage Point feels more like a screenwriting exercise than a living, breathing movie. The stories are cleverly interwoven, with a couple of unexpected twists, and the patient viewer is rewarded with a doozy of a car chase in the last reel. But there's no real sense of why we are being told this story in this style - the various viewpoints don't illuminate each other so much as push the story onward by a few minutes each time. Thus, the action has a three-steps-forward-two-steps-back feel that eventually becomes rather annoying.
Box office: In its opening weekend, it earned $22,874,936 in 3,149 theaters in the United States and Canada, ranking #1 at the box office. It eventually grossed $72,266,306 domestically and $78,895,185 in foreign markets for a total worldwide box office of $151,161,491.