Holy fuck, this movie is exciting. I intended to let the Vantage Point DVD play in the background while I read last week's L.A. Weekly, but the paper remains untouched and I'm still buzzing from the film. Movie critics and Rotten Tomatoes and IMDb user reviews are fine and good and all, but they've deterred me far too many times from seeing certain flicks in the theater, which I later find out that I enjoy tremendously and would've enjoyed far more on the big screen. Fuck you all for ruining my life!
The story of Vantage Point is the stuff of your average genre thriller—the President of the United States gets shot right before he's to give a speech in front of a large crowd in a Spanish plaza. But after the set-up, which takes place in a newsroom run by a feisty Sigourney Weaver (is she never not feisty?) who witnesses the shooting in real time, Barry Levy and Pete Travis's film then proceeds to defy convention and "rewind" the story no less than five times to retell the events from five different...well...vantage points: a secret service agent who once took a bullet for the President; a Spanish police officer with romantic woes; an American tourist with a video camera and a broken marriage; the Commander-in-Chief who's trying to preserve the dignity of a historical global summit on counter-terrorism; and the individuals involved in the meticulously planned assassination. What's more is that the main characters in this fine ensemble are each given a humanizing backstory (they seem like real people instead of pawns in a screenwriter's twisty narrative) that is conveyed economically and with admirable restraint.
And the cast is icing on the cake. Want a Spanish hottie to keep you occupied? Eduardo Noriega is good enough to eat. Or how about an American hunk to whet your appetite? Matthew Fox ought to do.
Or maybe you desire simple gravitas? During Forest Whitaker's final scene, I muttered to myself, "How is it that you're the greatest actor on earth?" Or perhaps you want stars that are so comfortable in their own skin and respective roles that you wonder why they aren't even bigger than they already are? Dennis Quaid, William Hurt, and Sigourney Weaver—enough said.
You may very well not remember a thing you saw just moments after the movie is over, but sometimes isn't the ride good enough? All aboard!: