Thursday, December 18, 2008

Disadvantage Point

Last night I watched Vantage Point, the political action thriller with Dennis Quaid, Matthew Fox and William Hurt. Similar to the Akira Kurosawa classic Rashomon, Vantage Point shows an event from several character’s points of view. In this film it’s the assassination of Hurt’s U.S. president, seen from the point of view of veteran Secret Service man Quaid, tourist Forrest Whitaker, the assassin, the president, Sigourney Weaver as the on-sight news director, and about six or seven other people too. I’m only slightly exaggerating. Each time one point of view ends, the film literally rewinds itself to start another character’s 20 minute viewpoint of the proceedings. If you put all the “rewinding” scenes together they probably lasted a good half hour. Why they felt they had to do this, I don’t know, but after the third time I started fast forwarding through this dreck.

Dennis Quaid is getting older and his face seems to be stuck with one expression: constipation. I like Quaid, and wouldn’t mind having a beer with the man, but the director should slap him in the face – HARD – before each take to get the man to loosen up.

The movie has a car chase through the streets of Mexico City (doubling for Spain) that lasts roughly 45 minutes. Again, I kid, but only slightly. After The Bourne Identity and its thrilling Mini-Cooper chase through the tight, winding streets of France, Vantage Point’s car chase through the long Mexican streets is a severe let down, with the editor going bug-nuts crazy with the splicing machine. That little bulldog riding the skateboard in the famous viral video was way more exciting than this. (Maybe that dog should have been driving one of the cars in Vantage Point.)

One thing that really got to me was the movie’s sense of place, or rather, lack thereof. The assassination happens in a large plaza. A couple of the shadier characters plan to meet at a nearby overpass. Several of the characters do end up at this overpass after a foot chase started at the plaza. When Quaid who is at the plaza commandeers a car and chases after a suspect they end up after their LONG, HIGH SPEED car chase at this same underpass. WTF? Were they driving in circles?

A pointless, boring film. Watch grass grow for something a bit more exciting.

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