Vantage Point (12A)
Friday 07 March 2008
The cliffhanger style of 24 has been squeezed into Vantage Point, a 90-minute feature that rides roughshod over most kinds of credibility – narrative, political, physical – yet still manages to drag you along with it. It plays a variation on the old Rashomon trick of telling one story from different viewpoints, though its purpose is not to investigate "truth", as that film did, so much as to stretch out the suspense. We are in Salamanca, Spain, where a massive crowd has gathered to see the mayor introduce the US President, here played by William Hurt – that's how desperate things have got over there. He's in town for a big peace summit, but the Forces of Darkness are planning their own spectacular: first, to assassinate the Prez, then to detonate a huge bomb in the main square.
Events are seen first on banks of monitors by a TV news producer (Sigourney Weaver) and her team. We have the build-up, the gunshots, the bomb – then the action stops, rewinds and replays those 23 minutes of chaos from five other viewpoints. There's the troubled Secret Service agent (Dennis Quaid) who once took a bullet for the President; an American tourist (Forest Whitaker) who happens to capture the salient moments on his videocam; the Spanish cop (Eduardo Noriega) who's been duped by his girlfriend; the terrorist who's orchestrating the atrocity, and the President himself. If 24 is the film's plot-prompt, then the Bourne movies are its technical inspiration; the whipcrack editing and scenes of crowd turmoil are only a few gasps behind Paul Greengrass's kinetic spectacles.
Watch the 'Vantage Point' trailer
When director Pete Travis abandons the single-viewpoint schtick in the last 20 minutes and makes a bolt for the finishing line, the film becomes like any other confection of murder and mayhem. A quite exciting car chase ends, predictably, in a demolition derby, though the director could have tweaked a single other expression from Quaid, whose face never deviates from a deep, unconvincing scowl. As for the political content, the early off-piste opinions of a TV news reporter ("not everybody loves America") are later eclipsed by the heroic exploits of a veteran agent and an up-against-it President. The streets are littered with corpses and burning cars, the peace summit is dead in the water, but hey – Mr President has seen off the bad guys. Hooray!
Potter's attempt to create an Essex Taj Mahal was a lovely treattv
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Crystal meth addict 'gouged out his eyes and ate them' while high on drug, Australian MP claims
- 2 As a white man, I'm surprised more women aren't tweeting the hashtag #KillAllWhiteMen
- 3 The ten most unequal developed countries in the world
- 4 Saudi Arabia 'seeking to head United Nations Human Rights Council'
- 5 Toddler throws a tantrum at the White House – in front of Barack Obama
Cannes Film Festival rejects women from red-carpet screening of pro-LGBT romance 'Carol' for not wearing high heels
Game of Thrones rape scene criticised as 'disgusting' by US senator Claire McCaskill who says she's 'done' with show
Beyonce angers fans by pouring expensive champagne into hot tub in Nicki Minaj 'Feeling Myself' video
Mad Men, TV review: Perfect harmony? Not quite, but an enlightening finale for Don Draper
Theresa May accused of seeking to introduce state censorship of the media by Cabinet colleague Sajid Javid
As a white man, I'm surprised more women aren't tweeting the hashtag #KillAllWhiteMen
Scotland may have to leave the EU even if it votes to stay in, David Cameron confirms
Report finds that Britain's wages are the most unequal in Europe
Almost a third of school pupils believe 'Muslims are taking over our country', study claims
The day that Britain resigned as a global power
Gay marriage 'Bert and Ernie' cake bakery found guilty of discrimination in Northern Ireland