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Vantage Point

a film by Pete Travis

With its circulative delusions of Rashomonian grandeur and a hyped-up sense of post 9/11 urgency, the ultimately quite lackluster Vantage Point plays out as if it is the most important film to come out in many a year. Too bad for it (and for the rest of us) that its contrived plot, blowhard political agenda and overall hackneyed attempt at being a thriller explodes, just as the repetitive booms in the movie itself, all over the screen, and in turn all over us. A motion picture that demands itself be explosive ends up spewing nothing but banality back in our collective face.

The story of the attempted assassination of the president of the United States, played rather ham-handedly by an overzealously preening William Hurt, Vantage Point shows the event from the viewpoint of not only POTUS himself, but from that of the secret service agents (the dire Dennis Quaid and the dull Matthew Fox) trying to protect the president, a news team (headed by an under-used Sigourney Weaver) covering the story, a by-stander with a camcorder (Forest Whitaker in the only performance that doesn't seem like posturing) who may or may not have filmed the shooter, and finally by the assassins themselves. Culminating in the obligatory chase scene that tries way to hard to come off as something out of the Jason Bourne movies, the film explodes once again, and just like before, we are the ones who get covered in goo.

Granted, the premise of remaking Rashomon as a political thriller is a rather unique idea, or at least it would have been if even one person involved with the making of the movie had the slightest inclination this is what they were doing (ah, the ignorance of film history in modern day mainstream Hollywood rears its ugly head once more) but clued-in or clueless, this hapless production, replete with non-sensical inconsistencies and filled to the brim with obvious twists and turns (you'll never guess who the bad guy is he said with tongue firmly in cheek) and highlighted by an on-going grimacing contest between Quaid and Fox, is nothing more than the most generic of movies. Plain and simple, this film is plain and simple. [03/07/08]

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