Sunday, 31 May 2009

The Thin White Dude's Reviews - Vantage Point

I really enjoyed Vantage Point. I think that to a certain degree it was a perfectly enjoyable conspiracy thriller in the vein of the Bourne series. The point of the film is that during a summit in Spain, the US President is assassinated, and then, a la Rashomon, every 23 minutes (onscreen roughly eleven and a half) we return to the time at which the film began, but this time from a different perspective. Now, as I mentioned earlier, I genuinely enjoyed this film to a degree. I believe that there is some strong acting, which while not being Oscar winning masterclasses, certainly hold up well, and give the film a certain credibility. I mean, there has been a great ensemble assembled for this film, and the fact that no one actor seems to get more time than the other for the majority of the film is a testament to the screenwriter. The film is also very well shot, with some beautiful cinematography, and is directed with a great flair. Finally, there is a great consistency with the structure of the plot, gradually developing and unfolding before our eyes, without getting too carried away and losing focus of the whole purpose of the Rashomon-akin plot device. However, despite the first hour being very enjoyable and genuinely gripping, it seems as though the producers have said, "you know what, this is a big budget movie. We are paying too much for an art-house esque film. It won't make money. It's like the Bourne movies in a way, right? You know what we need? Extended action/car chase sequences. Yeah, that will really bring in the dough. If it worked for Bourne, why not us?" The explanation for the above rant is that in my opinion, the very gripping and enjoyable thriller with an original twist has been built up and merely destroyed by the realisation that audiences might not buy it. Also, the film runs in at just eighty minutes minus the credits. The fact that there was only an hour of good, solid plot gives me the idea that the producers realised that the did not have a strong, fully developed screenplay, and hit the double whammy with the twenty-minute extended action/chase scene, both as filler so that it could indeed get a release, for a one hour film would be too short for theatrical release, and the afformented audience pacifier. The film takes the audience for granted, assuming that all this plot and backtracking will be too much to handle, and so we need an unintelligent, expensive, extended visually satisfying action sequence. Also, before I leave it out, that I must note that there was some good music throughout the film, even during the extended action sequences. Anyway, my final problem with the film is that it was shown to be quite a wise, intelligent film, but without an arrogant sense of intelligence, which retained its purpose, remaining true to itself and its plot device. While I did find that the extended action sequence was well shot, choreographed and directed, I found it terribly disappointing that a film which remained true to itself and its plot device of returning every eleven and a half minutes throws it all away, making it clearly obvious that the producers have said, "Screw the plot device, we don't care about our film. Give them an action sequence," and they do so. I must credit the director Pete Travis, who was former director of The Bill and the excellent made-for-TV drama Omagh, and he does direct with gusto, showing great potential in the future. However, despite the films many qualities which are truly worthy of admiration, I believe that this was a genuinely entertaining thriller with an intriguing plot device which was more or less soiled upon and destroyed by the powers that be.

The Thin White Dude's Prognosis - 6.4/10

On The Topic Of Vantage Point

How does does Dennis Quaid survive the car chase, much less emerge without a scratch?

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