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March 24, 2008 | by  | in Film | [ssba]

Vantage Point

Directed by Pete Traus
Vantage point has been described as having a ‘high-concept premise,’ and this would be true if the writer meant ‘premise that is fucking stupid‘. Its premise is so improbable and flawed that the fact it’s also poorly executed and far too light on the intrigue should come as no surprise. Thrillers are by definition meant to be thrilling, but the only scary thing about Vantage Point is the vast hatred that engulfed my soul upon leaving the theatre.

It tells the story, from eight different perspectives, of an assassination attempt on the President while he gives a key note speech at an outdoor, public conference in Spain (one of many logical flaws in the film). Each of the eight points of view gives more detail about the attack but often with varying success and importance. The first of these is the perspective of an American news team reporting on the story from their news truck. Their position allows for the use of multiple cameras and helps introduce the audience to the story, however it’s all down hill from there as the story grows more and more unbelievable, only to fall completely apart when an incredibly obvious and unexplained betrayal is unearthed.

Logic gets a beating throughout the film, from the extreme ineptitude of the Secret Service to the flawless execution of a one man attack on a building full of armed guards. Every part of story seems poorly thought out and the characters’ development suffers because of this. But don’t feel too sorry for the actors; they put in a unanimously bad ensemble performance and show that even veteran actors can ham it up. However the film’s worst crimes are not those of the actors, but those of the editor.

Good editing should maintain the integrity of the story or if (like in this case) the story has no integrity, then at least make these failings as inconspicuous as possible by keeping the action tense and compelling. But its pace seems to simulate the brain of an ADHD child. The film’s stylistic touches (staccato jump cuts, hand held) don’t work and take away from the aforementioned action, cutting away from those damn actors when they feel the urge to turn on the melodrama.

To bring up the Rashomon comparison (both films show a single event from multiple points of view) is to piss on the grave of Akira Kurosawa. Rashomon was a musing on the impossibility of a consensus between different viewers of the same thing. Vantage Point on the other hand is as hollow as a chocolate egg and is too riddled with logical errors to be taken seriously. I’ve been told Vantage Point is watchable if you ‘turn your brain off,’ but to shut your brain down to the level of this film you would need a bullet.

So in conclusion Vantage point is one of the worst things I’ve seen in years (and that includes two girls one cup).


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