The cast and crew, according to the featurettes within the special features for Vantage Point, are very pleased with themselves. It’s the kind of film that affects us all, that’ll make you go wow, that’ll change the way you see things, and give an insight into human nature.
Only, er, it won’t. But it might keep you entertained for a bit.
The central premise, lifted directly out of concept corner, is the attempted assassination of the President of the United States, and the gimmick is that the same fifteen minutes or so of action is seen several times, albeit from different people’s viewpoints. This kind of thing was done very well by the European movie Run Lola Run a good few years’ back, and it does offer a solid foundation for an intriguing thriller.
And for a while, that’s what Vantage Point is. Well shot, and with a collection of characters played by the likes of William Hurt, Dennis Quaid, Sigourney Weaver, Forest Whittaker and Lost’s Matthew Fox, the finger of suspicion darts around for a little while, as each person’s viewpoint on the action adds a little more to the mix.
But it doesn’t really last. For while the concept of Vantage Point has promise, it’s not quite tight enough to fully pull it all off. The first few times watching very similar sequences is all well and good, but it does get, inevitably, a little repetitive, and each viewpoint doesn’t add enough to the plot. By the time the secret’s out, Vantage Point then jumps into a by-the-numbers game of Grand Theft Auto, with a decent car chase and a resolution that, ultimately, you’ll be able to see coming.
Still, it does have a few punches in its favour. Keeping the cast towards the mid-range of Hollywood’s acting roster does at least mean that each character can have some grey areas explored, and the script does exploit this a little, throwing one or two mildly surprising turns in too. Director Pete Travis is one to watch, too, and for a first big screen effort, his film has some nice touches to it.
Yet the film ultimately gets bogged down by its tying up of loose ends, and by the restrictions imposed by repeatedly focussing on the same central set piece. Plus, with clear influences from the TV show 24, you’d get a far more involving thriller from picking up an early season of Jack Bauer’s adventures instead.
The extras package on the disc shouldn’t be approached until the film has been watched, with spoilers thrown about with happy abandon. Naturally, you get the feeling from the assorted featurettes that everyone thinks they’ve just made Citizen Kane or something, but they do eventually get into some of the nuances of making the film, and the choices that were made. It’s all a bit dry, but at least there’s some substance in there.
The most interesting extra feature, although again it’s more gimmick than use, is the GPS option. With this enabled, you can track each character throughout the film. It doesn’t help the film itself, though. The extras are then topped off with a dry commentary from Pete Travis, that’s fairly down the line, and not an essential listen.
The presentation of the film on the Blu-ray, however, is excellent, with a vibrant 1080p picture the star attraction. The level of detail is astounding, and it never faltered once to our eye. Likewise, the audio mix is also very strong, dealing as ably with the subtleties as it does the big blockbuster moments. It makes for an active and involving soundstage.
Yet the problem here is that the film at best is a rental, and one that gets less and less interesting as it heads into its final act. It’s worth a watch if you’re in an undemanding mood, and the cast are in fine form, but Vantage Point isn’t one you should go out of your way for.Film Extras