Saturday, March 08, 2008

VANTAGE POINT - tedious, exciting, laughable

VANTAGE POINT is an action movie about a terrorist attack on the US President. The concept is to have the attack re-hashed from the points-of-view of different characters until the audience can piece together the truth, Rashomon-style.

The first third of the film must have looked really clever on paper, but is actually pretty tedious to watch. We see the attack around four or five times, each time learning a little more about the conspiracy, but not enough to justify rehashing the story *yet again*.

The second third of the film picks up in inverse proportion to the film-makers' willingness to drop the Rashomon conceit. A further plot twist is revealed and the movie settles down into an exciting political thriller, complete with betrayals and a high-adrenaline car chase.

But the film-makers drop the ball in the final third of the film, which is literally laughable. We are asked to believe that various people would survive hideous car crashes and that a hardened terrorist would swerve to miss a child.

The movie has its moments but overall it's rather forgettable. In such a large ensemble cast, no single actor has a chance to shine, or to capture our imagination. We never get a clear handle on the terrorists' motivations, and the whole thing seems rather mechanical. The attempt to graft on a sentimental story involving a divorced parents and a small girl is simply toe-curlingly saccharine.....Basically, this is a movie to avoid.

VANTAGE POINT is on release in the Philippines, the US, Hong Kong, Qatar, Austria, Canada, Mexico, South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Argentina, Germany, Kuwait, Russia, Swizterland, Denmark, Italy, Spain, Sweden, India, Estonia, Japan and the UK. It opens later in March in Indonesia, Australia, Croatia, New Zealand, Slovakia, Brazil, France, Chile, Portugal, Singapore, Bulgaria, Finland, Bahrain, Belgium, Egypt, Jordan, Oman, Greece, Israel, Lebanon, Nigeria, Slovenia, the UAE, Iceland, Lithuania, Norway and Romania. It opens in April in Peru, Thailamd, Ecuador, Kenya, Latvia, Polamd, South Africa, the Czech Republic, Hungary, the Netherlands, Turkey, Colombia, Uruguay, Bolivia and the Ukraine.

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