Friday, February 22, 2008

Movie Review: Vantage Point

There's good things and bad things about being a professional movie reviewer. Sure, you get to see all the movies for free before anyone else sees them. On the down side you are forced to watch every awful piece of crap that comes along. Luckily for me I'm not at all professional and get to skip the stuff that you can tell is crap before you ever step into the theater. So after a long spell where only really gawdawful movies were available to me for free I finally get to see decent stuff again.

"Vantage Point" feels like part "Lost" and part "24".

Some years ago I thought it would be cool to make a TV show that covered a story one hour at a time. One season would be one day. I wasn't the only person with that idea. Somebody else came up with an idea for what kind of story would work in that format. That person made the show "24".

Another idea I had, one that's been used in several TV shows for decades, is to tell a story from several viewpoints. "Vantage Point" is that movie. It tells the story of terrorists attacking the President at an international peace conference. So the movie has a storyline much like a season of "24".

The movie opens in the press trailer of GNN. Sigourney Weaver is directing the feed from six different cameramen, telling them how and where to point, and directing the reporter in the field. This first view point sets up the foundation that the rest of the movie builds on. Peace conference, not everyone thrilled, President gets shot, one set of explosions, more explosions, and then rewind to noon.

The second POV is from Dennis Quaid. He's a Secret Service agent who took a bullet for the President and is just now going back into service. Everyone is a bit worried about him.

The third POV is from suspicious character #1.

The fourth POV is from observant tourist Forest Whitaker.

The fifth POV is from the President's perspective

The sixth POV is more muddled since it's from suspicious characters #2, #3, and #4.

The seventh round really pulls things together.

Each perspective ends with a cliffhanger that gets dealt with later in the movie. The erratic time line, the plethora of cliffhangers, and the way that it keeps you trying to figure out how the next part will unfold is what makes it feel like "Lost". That much more than the inclusion of Matthew Fox who plays Jack in "Lost".

It's an entertaining movie. There's a few holes in the behavior of some characters but you overlook them because this isn't a movie for taking seriously. This is a movie for watching explosions and car chases and action ... stuff.

I won't get it on DVD. I'm glad I saw it. I'm glad I didn't pay for it.
Go with a group. Pay matinee.

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