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July 1, 2008

DVD of the Week – Vantage Point (2008)


Vantage Point assembles a cast of talented and experienced middle-aged American actors (Dennis Quaid, Forest Whitaker, William Hurt, Sigourney Weaver) and some other people (mostly good-looking young foreigners I didn’t recognize) and sets them frantically running about at the service of a standard issue “foil the terrorists” plot. The gimmick – and the gimmick’s the point of the movie – is that the story unfolds in segments, with each segment told from a different character’s point of view. Each person sees or knows or does something that contributes a piece of the jigsaw puzzle. It’s Rashomon for the post-24 world.

The key to making this work is either compelling writing or rapid-fire pacing. As might be expected from a mainstream Hollwyood film, Vantage Point chooses the latter. The plotting holds together surprisingly well, and things move fast enough that there’s little time to notice the plausibility holes when they do appear. Subtlety has no place in the equation and the actors’ screen presence substitutes for characterization, but it’s all in the service of good fun and some thrills. If you enjoy Hollywood thrillers, Vantage Point is worth a rental. 

Other new releases this week: City of Men, Drillbit Taylor, Tyler Perry’s Meet the Browns