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Vantage Point [Blu-ray]  [Region Free]
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During an historic counter-terrorism summit in Spain, the President of the United States is struck down by an assassin's bullet. Eight strangers have a perfect view of the kill, but what did they really see? As the minutes leading up to the fatal shot are replayed through the eyes of each eyewitness, the reality of the assassination takes shape. But just when you think you know the answer, the shattering final truth is revealed. VANTAGE POINT is a mindbending political action-thriller starring Dennis Quaid, Matthew Fox, Academy Award® Winner Forest Whitaker (Best Actor 2006, The Last King of Scotland), with Sigourney Weaver and Academy Award® winner William Hurt (Best Actor 1985, Kiss of the Spider Woman).
Vantage Point, which aspires to be a cunningly twisted thriller, comes equipped with plenty of hurtling action, handheld camerawork, what-was-that? editing, and a plot that has multiple, contradictory agendas writhing like a nest of snakes. It's all set within a few blocks of a town square in Spain where a U.S. President is targeted for assassination. Although the movie lasts 90 minutes, the events it depicts are mostly over within fifteen minutes or so--but seen, rewound, and reseen from half a dozen different (you guessed it) vantage points. The first line in the credits reads "Original Film," apparently the name of the production company. "Gimmick Movie" might be more accurate. The opening reel, effectively jolting, affords an initial overview of the events through the eyes, lenses, monitors, and duelling sensibilities of a TV news producer (Sigourney Weaver), her activist-minded reporter (Zoe Saldana) and crew. Everybodys in Salamanca for the start of an international conference to reaffirm Arab-Western commitment to the fight against terrorism. Terrorism, of course, sees this as an ideal moment to break out. As gunshots and explosions reduce everything to chaos, the clock is reset to zero and we proceed to revisit the scene as experienced by several Secret Service agents (namely Dennis Quaid and Matthew Fox), an American tourist with camcorder (Forest Whitaker), sundry locals--including three who may be caught up in a love triangle or a conspiracy or both--and even the President himself (William Hurt).
For a while, this is mildly diverting: that guy, or that gesture, so sinister when glimpsed across the plaza in one run-through, now appears harmless in closeup--or vice versa. But there's no real ambiguity (so stop with the careless comparisons to Kurosawa's Rashomon)--this is a shell game in which the peas aren't worth tracking. Despite decent actors, the characters might as well be holograms (although poor Forest Whitaker is saddled with "motivation" of surpassing sappiness), and the casting telegraphs several twists: one redoubtable good guy practically gives a wink-wink, nudge-nudge that he's really bad, etc. The movie declines to specify which nutjob philosophy the terrorists espouse, and their numbers are multi-ethnic. There's also a laborious suggestion that they have bloodthirsty, reactionary counterparts among the President's inner circle, which perhaps qualifies as redeeming socio-political comment and prompts a meaningless declaration of deep meaning from the Prez. The whole megilleh finally comes down to an extended car chase through impassably claustrophobic streets that would mark a lurch into unintentional self-parody--if only that point hadn't been passed a couple of rewinds earlier. --Richard T. JamesonSee all Product description
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The trick used to achieve this is to have the same story – a terrorist attack and assassination attempt against the President of the United States during his speech in Salamanca (Spain) – seen through the eyes of eight different witnesses and participants of the events including the President himself, with each of them adding something different to the story, something that others were not part of, did not see or did not realise the significance of what they were seeing.
The device is a particularly powerful one that does a lot to keep up the suspense and also makes you miss imperfections, weaknesses or implausible elements of the scenario. For instance, you are never quite told about whom the attackers really are and why they are carrying out such an attack. Perhaps more importantly, this feature and the story’s fast pace simply does not leave you enough time to realise just how implausible some of the scenes happen to be.
Perhaps the most extreme example of implausibility is that of a rogue member of the Spanish Special Forces who, single handed, overpowers and shoots to pieces the whole of the US President’s highly trained and professional security detail from the Secret Service. He gets away with it with barely a scratch - I am slightly exaggerating here because he does end up wounded, but not critically - despite the fact that his multiple opponents are just as well trained as he happens to be.
Then there are the actors’ performances. Some of them are quite remarkable; such as Sigourney Weaver as the TV senior journalist of some CNN-equivalent Team sent out to cover the event and which is on the scene when the President gets shoot at and everyone blows up, both figuratively and literally. Forest Whitaker is also excellent, and perhaps the best performer of all when playing the role of a totally innocent US tourist who happened to be in town, came to see and hear his President’s speech. He gets caught up in the events but completely misses – as the vast majority of the participants - a large part of what is really going on. The characters played by Dennis Quaid and Matthew Fox are perhaps more conventional and you might in fact be tempted to make some comparisons with two somewhat similar characters (Michael Douglas and Kiefer Sutherland) playing in the Sentinel while Said Taghmaoui makes up a suitable – although not very original or subtle “nasty”.
Four strong stars since, as a thriller, this film is so successful that it largely masks other shortcomings and limitations.
Yes, the opening scenes were repeated over and over, but...each sequence reveals a little more through the eyes of different a witness as the plot comes together...not everything is what it seems.
With a great lead cast, including 'Dennis Quaid' 'Mathew Fox' and 'Forest Whitaker' the film is gripping, and builds up to an exciting finale.
You really won't want to let 'Vantage point' pass you by, if you haven't seen it yet, can recommend a visit.
I felt that 'Vantage Point' was a solid, if not spectacular, action thriller. The style of re-showing the same events from different points of view does work and is not boring at all. The issue I had with the film was that it eventually abandoned the structure for a generic finale. I also felt that although overall the acting was good there were a few miscast people, especially the female news presenter. Finally, although the film is meant to be serious some of the situations were a bit ridiculous with characters (i.e. men) doing stuff for stupid reasons. Overall, a fun film, but not much more.
The BluRay transfer is a good one with some interesting extras including a GPS system that allows you to follow the characters whereabouts as the film progresses.
This would have been a great movie had they simply did the thing with a plot and subplot in a chronological sequence, focusing on the character of the secret service agent, rather than play "Groundhog's Day" with it. Dennis Quaid? That was the best they could get? The flashback redo sequence served no real purpose. This would have been an even better film if a rouge Jason Bourne was the guy who came in and saved the President and then slipped out.
PARENTAL GUIDE: No sex or nudity. 1 F-bomb.
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1. When we are shown a certain person being shot at close range ( 12 months previously to the main action ) why are there...Read more
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