Saturday, September 12

Vantage Point - Extremely thrilling movie with a mediocre ending...

Movie - Vantage Point (English)
Director - Pete Travis
Producer - Neal H. Mortiz
Writer - Barry Levy
Cast - Dennis Quaid, Matthew Fox, Forest Whitaker, Sigourney Weaver, William Hurt
Cinematography - Amir M.Mokri
Editing - Stuart Baird
Music - Atli Orvarsson
Release Date - 2nd March 2008

Ok. This is my first attempt at reviewing an English movie. So please forgive me if i'm not competent enough. [:P]. I saw this very interesting movie today called Vantage Point. (I'm sure most of you would have seen it. I'm always late in watching English movies). Its about a plan to assassinate the President of America (Haha!! I like!! Coz while this one released, it was the earlier president who was ruling :P New one is quite ok. Ok, enough of politics! :P) And the assassination which happens during a very important anti-terrorism summit is shown through the viewpoint of 6 different persons who happened to be at the spot when the whole incident happened. The President is shot at and 2 bombs explode, one away from the podium and one right on the podium. This incident is shown through the viewpoints of 6 different people and then moves towards a thrilling chase sequence (seriously the best action choreography I've seen so far {i havnt seen the bourne series yet}). A completely unique narrative with an apt title - Vantage Point. 

So we see the same situation going back and forth 6 times. Usually, this can be very irritating. But the director has managed to keep you hooked to the screen right from the beginning. Each version of the incident leaves you with a shock to go back and come with the next one and then the 6th one proceeds onto merge with all the other viewpoints and moves towards the climax. It must have been immensely difficult to shoot the same scenes again and again, from different viewpoints, showing more and more characters and details, and from different angles. The continuity is not at lost. (At least, it doesnt appear jarring). The movies moves so fast that we cannot notice any continuity jerks, even if there are any, by any chance. 

The first viewpoint is that of the TV crew head Rex (Sigourney Weaver) and depicts how American news channels work. The summit is viewed through different cameras on the console and the coverage goes on fine, until the President is shot. Then the bomb explosions also leave them in a shock. From there, zap it goes to Thomas Barnes(Dennis Quaid)'s version. He is a secret forces agent who is in charge of the President's security. After that, it goes to Enrique(Eduardo Noriega), a spanish cop's version. After that, zap, it goes to Howard Lewis(Oscar winner Forest Whitaker)'s version. He is an American tourist excited about seeing such an important summit and captures everything possible on his HDV camera. The next version is of the American President(William Hurt) himself. It is here that the movie gives you a big shock. And right when you settle down from that shock, another shock comes. But it stops right there and rewinds to another version. This is the final version from the viewpoint of the terrorist mastermind Suarez(Said Taghmaoui). It also shows the other people involved in the plan. And then proceeds to the incident and then merges the other characters and goes into the climax. There are a mother and daughter who criss cross the paths of these characters as well.

The editor has managed to keep up with the breakneck speed of the narrative and is successful in keeping the viewer hooked. Extraordinary work..Cinematography is top-notch as he has to capture every small happening in full detail, in a different angle each time the incident happens as well. Extraordinary work again!! Background music is apt and works well for the movie's pace and thriller mood. The chase sequence at the end is spectacular. I read somewhere that there was no CG effects involved in that scene. So its even more awesome. Two cars speeding through narrow alleys in full throttle and facing all sorts of obstacles provides some high-octane action. The action choreography, camerawork, and editing are stunning here. The performances from each of the cast members is excellent. Dennis Quaid, Forest Whitaker and William Hurt shine in their roles. So does Sigourney Weaver in her short role. 

All said and done, I think the movie ended with a very convenient coincidence. Either the writer was lazy to think of more ideas or they just couldnt shoot any more action scenes. Nobody does anything particular to achieve the goal in the end. Just a chance coincidence does the trick. And a lot of questions are left unanswered. The whole point behind the attack is very vague. That is fine as long as we get our action scenes, but they should have at least made it clear whether it was a political attack or a terrorist attack. Spoiler ahead(dont read if u havnt seen the movie) - //The traitor in the security forces is a top level officer. He needs to have so many years of experience to get in that level of security. So was he always a traitor or did he turn to the other side of the law recently? None of this is explained.// These were the negatives I found in the movie. Till then, it was easily the best action thriller I have seen so far. The ending could have been better and these questions could have had some basic answers. 

The last lines of the movie go this way - The lone assassin responsible for the attack has been shot and killed. Come On!! It takes a dig at the manipulative news that the government forces give out, but still, how can people believe that such a shootout and 3 bomb explosions was done by a lone assassin? The movie could have done without that line. So all in all, an extremely thrilling movie with a mediocre ending. I usually dont search for logic in movies. But since this one is an English movie, and they are so particular about logic and motives, I found the ones in this movie hard to believe. Entertaining, nevertheless!!

Rating - 3.5/5 

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