Wednesday, July 30, 2008

REVIEW: Vantage Point

Vantage Point

Year: 2008
Director: Pete Travis
Starring: Dennis Quaid, Matthew Fox, Forest Whitaker, Saïd Taghmaoui, William Hurt
Distributor: Columbia Pictures
MPAA: Rated PG-13

When I first saw the trailer for Vantage Point in theaters early this year, I wasn't interested. I thought the trailer looked mediocre and not something Id spend my money on seeing. Looks like I was right again because the film wasn't well received by critics. The strange thing was that the ratings didn't stop this movie from being successful. The film managed to gross an estimated $150 million worldwide on a simple budget of $40 million. I decided to wait for the DVD to review this film since alot of people said it wasn't that good.

Plot Outline:
President Ashton (William Hurt) is in Spain for a world summit on terrorism. His Secret Service team includes Agent Kent Taylor (Matthew Fox) and Agent Thomas Barnes (Dennis Quaid) who took a bullet for the president in the past. However, the experience has left him shaken and only Taylor's good word keeps him on this assignment. While at the summit, an assassination attempt on the President and a bomb going off causes a big stir. Also in Spain are several other random individuals who would never cross each other's path. American tourist Howard Lewis (Forest Whitaker) and Spanish police officer Enrique (Eduardo Noriega) are about to cross paths in ways they never thought possible until that day.

The film's concept sounds very interesting and one that could have worked pretty well if it were nicely executed. The plot is told through a series of flashbacks in someones point of view or as some people like to say, vantage points. This makes the film interesting because it rewinds parts of the film to go with the story. The only problem is that they do this about eight different times and it can get pretty damn aggravating. Not only that, but these flashbacks lack some serious character development. We have no idea who these eight different people are and why they are important to the story. The movie also has a plot hole that really makes the whole film seem kind of useless. The ending also seems rushed and not thought out well. On top of that, the movie also has some minor problems that you can really notice if you pay close attention. I wont name all of them, but one of them is when Agent Barnes is running and shooting at a car. He fires 25 to 30 bullets on a pistol that carries about 12 to 16. Like I said, these are only minor, but their are alot of them. With all of this said, the film can still be somewhat entertaining. We get alot of stuff that blow up and even a car chase.

The cast for Vantage Point is another weak aspect of the film. Dennis Quaid plays as Thomas Barnes and he doest give a performance that I would have expected from him. He usually tends to perform well in movies, but hes just so average here. I didn't believe his acting for one bit. Matthew Fox plays as Kent Taylor and I kind of laughed a couple times at his work. He doesn't give a performance that's worth watching and I just found his character to be so dumb and funny when hes suppose to be a serious agent. Forest Whitaker plays as Howard Lewis and he feels pretty wasted here. After his Oscar performance in The Last King of Scotland, I was expecting alot from him here and yet I was disappointed. He seems too calm and worthless in this movie. Saïd Taghmaoui plays as Suarez and he does a decent job here. Nothing too special, but nothing too bad either. We also have William Hurt playing as President Ashton. He too gives a decent performance that's nothing to rave about, but also nothing that's going to bother you.

The visual look of Vantage Point is probably the films strongest point. This is a great looking movie. I didn't notice any CGI effects and the films source is an excellent condition with no film grain which shouldn't come as a surprise since the film was released early this year. Colors are lively and pretty to look at. The film has many different scenes where colors truly pop out and look wonderful. Blacks are inky and very strong. Flesh tones are somewhat off at times, but pretty consistent for the most part. Detail is very strong and really impressive. Close up shots and the environment reveal alot of detail. The film is also razor sharp and what a recent DVD should look like.

The soundtrack is pretty good and seems to fit the movie. The music is composed by Atli Örvarsson who hasn't done much big budget films in the past. His score seems perfectly fine for the movie and is used pretty effectively. Scenes feature music that tends to go well with the action. The films also got an impressive amount of bass. It ain't up to the level of something like The Incredible Hulk, but its definitely good for a movie like this. Dynamics are full and loud. The explosions sound great and the way it should sound. This ain't demo material, but is definitely enough to satisfy most people.

Vantage Point had a good concept, but it wasn't executed right. The story starts out interesting, but becomes a hassle to watch. It feels like I'm in Sunday school trying to figure each little thing out instead of watching a great movie. Their are some parts that can be entertaining, but these get overshadowed by its many problems that any smart person would notice if they looked hard enough. The cast is mostly poor with many of them not performing as strong as I would have liked them to. This movie has many talented actors and yet they don't give it their best. The visual look of the film is great and the movie is nicely detailed. The soundtrack works and features some good bass work. If you have to see it no matter what, Id probably give it a rent than. As for everyone else, id skip it.

Grade: D+


Eternal Future said...

First of all, great blog! You managed to categorize each element of a movie well and translated it into a well-structured blog.

Second, about Vantage Point. I actually think that Forest Whitaker played pretty good in this movie. That expression of his was the expression of innocence caught up in the midst of chaos. Of course, the question would be: "Would that happen in real life?" Maybe, but definitely something hardly probable.

I've seen a better movie though, remember Run Lola, Run? That was a story made from multiple perspectives. The difference? Lola trumped Vantage Point by a huge margin.

Farzan said...

Thanks eternal future. As for Whitaker, he didnt convince me enough. Sure he gave a decent performance, but when you compare it to his Oscar role in The Last King of Scotland, it doesn't match up.

I haven't seen Run Lola, Run yet. I have heard good things from it so I might check it out soon

David Bishop said...

This movie didn't even interest me in it's trailer phase. I'm sort of relieved to know that I didn't ignore something great.

Do check out Run Lola Run! It's unforgettably awesome.

Jaccstev said...

Anyway, i like this film. It's somewhat fun to following the different perspectives in the story.

E. said...

Haven't seen it, bu it looks naff, I must say.

RLR is a masterpiece :)

Farzan said...

I wll check out Run Lola, Run just because everyone here is telling me how great it is.

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