Wednesday, July 9, 2008

"Vantage Point" - REVIEW

For the past few years, Hollywood has developed a somewhat predictable pattern in terms of the films it unleashes on us in the first quarter of the year: within a few weeks or months of each other, audiences will be given A) a star studded thriller and B) an adaptation of a comic book OR graphic novel (is there actually a difference?). In 2005 it was A) The Interpreter and B) Sin City. In 2006 it was Inside Man and V for Vendetta. In 2007, it was Zodiac and 300. Now with 2008, Hollywood decided to give us Wanted for the comic book adaptation, and Vantage Point for the thriller. However, everything was thrown out of sync when Wanted was pushed from April to June; the Hollywood equilibrium was deeply upset. Instead of both films actually turning out to be GOOD, we get the annoyingly schizophrenic Wanted, and the interesting-concept-but-poor-execution-thriller that is Vantage Point. In Salamanca, Spain, fictional President Ashton (William Hurt) is about to give a speech at a monumental global summit on counter terrorism. Just as he steps to the main podium, he is shot. The rest of the film then goes about covering the events leading up to and following the assassination, starting with a news crew that works for the Global News Network, or GNN (too clever!) headed by producer Rex (Sigourney Weaver). We then rewind to 11: 23 AM (the shooting takes place a few minutes past noon) to secret service partners played by Matthew Fox and a continually constipated looking Dennis Quaid. This continues until all the big players are covered and more backstories (some of which are pathetically vague and convoluted) are introduced. By the time the main action set piece (an improbable but exciting car chase) arrives, you won't be so much confused as you will be underwhelmed by how amateurish the whole execution is. Writing is kept to barely functional dialogue, so there's not much in the way of acting (good or bad) here. If I was a film teacher at a high school or college, I might actually make my students watch this film; not as a good example but as an example of how having a good idea doesn't guarantee a good finished product.

Grade: C-

Nominations: none

Number of 2008 films seen: 17

No comments: