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!
Art Somebody is going around telling people he's Banksy - but it isn't the street artist
Maisie Williams single-handedly rises to the challengeTV
Academy criticised after no non-white actors nominated
tvAn expose of hooliganism masquerading as an ideological battle
artLee Hadwin can't draw when he's awake, but by night he's an artist
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 2 Mystery man who gave mum heart-warming note on train 'wanted to put a smile on her face'
- 3 Michelle Obama highlights harsh restrictions faced by Saudi women after meeting King Salman without wearing a headscarf
- 4 Mafia's wall of silence broken: Victim of Cosa Nostra's extortion rackets in its Corleone heartland co-operates with authorities for the first time ever
- 5 Amal Clooney gives excellent answer to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
Heavy metal producer's corpse to be mutilated by models as per his dying wish
Game of Thrones season 5: Grey Worm actor Jacob Anderson is all for more male nudity – as long as it’s not him
The Jump 2015 line-up: Joey Essex, Phil Tufnell, Heather Mills and co take to the slopes
Costa Book Awards 2015: H is for Hawk named book of the year
New Ghostbusters movie lands all-female cast with Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures