I will warn you now that there is going to be quite a bit of comparison in this review. The reason is because the idea behind this movie’s technique is rare, but has been done a few times before… imagine seeing a new movie that plays backwards: it would be impossible to review it without comparing it to Memento.

Anyway, like a few movies before it, such as 11:14, Go, Rashomon, and even the first half of Atonement, Vantage Point’s technique has the audience see an event from one perspective, rewind, and then see it all over again from another perspective until all the truth is out on the table. This time, the President (William Hurt) is shot during a peace conference, and the movie takes us through every important Point of View (POV), from a secret service agent (Dennis Quaid) to a tourist in the crowd (Forest Whitaker) to the bad guys at the end, until we know the entire story.

The one thing that this movie does differently than its predecessors (except maybe Atonement) is that it only shows a character’s POV up until right before their big climax, then it stops, rewinds, and starts again from somebody else’s POV, waiting to use all the climaxes together at the end. Another difference is that this has to be the most action-packed attempt at this technique I’ve yet to see. The action almost literally never stops, and it all culminates into a really cool car chase scene at the very end.

One of the improvements and drawbacks happens to be in when they do the rewinds. The point of multiple POV movies, at least in the past, has been to conceal a mystery until the final POV. But in doing this, each POV is fully completed upon their turn. This is the innovation and creativeness with this technique: having the ability to write a story where you can tell a full story from different POVs completely without giving anything away until the end. This movie simply stops right before something vital is revealed and keeps the viewer waiting until the very end of the movie when it compiles all of the climaxes into one uber-climax. It is an improvement because it keeps the audience in suspense until the end of the movie to find out what exactly happened with each character’s story. However, it’s a downfall because it can potentially annoy its audience (quite a few in my theater were very vocal about it, even after the fourth or fifth rewind). It also seems to say “we can’t write it well enough to keep everything a surprise if we finish each story individually.” I have to admit, though… the climax was rather suspenseful, and everything did come together fashionably well. It’s really a double-edged sword the way it was done.

Also, because the movie simply revolves around an action-packed sequence of roughly 10 minutes each (except for the longer climax POV), there’s very little time for character development… as there is none… but that’s really not the point of this movie, either. Along with no character development, the acting tends to be kinda bad every now and then, specifically from Dennis Quaid (moreso toward the end of the movie, where he really has some cheesy lines).

I found that the best POV and character was Forest Whitaker’s. He seemed to be the easiest to latch on to and connect with, probably because he’s the everyday tourist, the most human and relatable. He also, I believe, gives the best performance of them all in the movie. Though that is to be expected; I mean, come on, it’s Forest Whitaker.

The ending isn’t too predictable unless you paid attention to the movie trailer. But seriously, I even had it spoiled for me a few months back and I still didn’t expect it, mostly because I had both forgotten and gotten too wrapped up in the action to really think about it. The only bad thing about the big reveal is that it’s not really explained much, so it almost doesn’t make much sense, but I went with it anyway.

So overall, it was a great action movie that took a cool idea and put it to decent use (the thing that bothered me most is that it’s seemingly taking credit for creating this technique, when it’s been done a few times already, but with less commercial films). The acting could have been better, but this wasn’t made to be an Oscar winner. It’s a summer blockbuster that was accidentally released about 4 months early, apparently. And if you liked how Vantage Point was done, go see it done better with Go and 11:14 (they’re like this movie, but with less action and deeper characters). Time to rate this bad boy…

I Am McLovin!

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