Vantage Point (8/10)
by Tony Medley
Don’t snicker at my “watch
test,” because it has stood the test of time, you should pardon the
expression. If I look at my watch a lot, the movie is no good. But if a
movie ends and I haven’t looked at my watch once, it’s a winner. I never
looked at my watch once during this 90-minute thriller.
Except for an ending that
is so ridiculous it would compliment it to describe it as just
ludicrous, this is an action-packed film about the attempted
assassination of the President and finding the people responsible. Why
director Pete Travis and writer Barry Levy used what they did at the
climax to thwart the bad guys is beyond comprehension. After what has
gone on throughout the entire movie, to think that this could happen is
just beyond adequate words to describe.
Thomas Barnes (Dennis
Quaid) is a Secret Service Agent who just a year ago took a bullet to
save the life of President Ashton (William Hurt). He is going out again
to Spain on a Presidential mission and everyone wonders how he will
perform. He gets to show his mettle right out of the box as the
President is shot and a bomb explodes.
One of the better trailers
of recent years makes this look first rate, and it is, until the
ending. Unfortunately, it was over-Rashomoned, with five or six
flashbacks to show what led up to the assassination attempt through the
POV of several of the characters. There are just too many flashbacks.
The audience applauded at the end to show its appreciation, but there
were snickers when the film flashed back for the fourth time. Enough is
The filmmakers exhibit a
backbone made of rubber bands. They never identify the terrorists as
Islamic. They all look dark-skinned, but they could be Spanish. Their
point in doing what they are doing is also never identified. But does
anyone other than Islamic Jihadists today resort to mayhem through
suicide bombers? I don’t remember Hollywood being afraid of identifying
the bad guys as German and Japanese during WWII. Why are filmmakers
today so reluctant to identify them for who they are?
Travis makes his feature
film debut and I thought he did a very good job, even throwing in a car
chase. Regular readers know what I think about car chases. Since
“Bullitt” and “The French Connection” the only one who has been able to
put together a good one has been Paul Greengrass in the two “Bourne”
films he directed. Other than his, they are all ridiculously derivative.
Travis, however, gives us a slam-bang car chase that, while it strains
credulity to the breaking point, is still pretty well done, even though
it does lead to the absurd climax.
February 23, 2008