Directed by Pete Travis. Starring Dennis Quaid, Matthew Fox, Forest Whitaker, Sigourney Weaver, Eduardo Noriega, Ayelet Zurer, Bruce McGill, William Hurt. (2008, PG-13, 90 min.)
REVIEWED By Marc Savlov, Fri., Feb. 22, 2008
If you can work your way past Vantage Point's goofy casting that places a bland, blank-eyed Hurt in the White House, then I suppose you can manage to forgive this Rashomon rip-off's other glaring idiosyncrasies, of which there are many. Like the Akira Kurosawa classic, Vantage Point replays a single event – in this case, the assassination of the United States president at a Middle East peace summit – from multiple points of view. The views include those of an onsite cable-news producer (Weaver), a camcording tourist (Whitaker), a mystery man (Noriega) and an equally unknowable femme fatale (Zurer), a Secret Service agent (McGill), and, the key to it all, Thomas Barnes (Quaid), a recently rehired Secret Service agent who previously took a bullet for the prez and now enters and exits every situation with a panicky grimace that recalls nothing so much as wee Jasen Fisher's anxiety-prone adolescent from Parenthood. Quaid does what he can with a role that appears to be little more than a cheap carbon copy of Clint Eastwood's similarly embattled presidential protector from In the Line of Fire, but after watching him dash hither and yon, searching for the truth in a plaza of lies, it's just not enough to make Vantage Point anything other than another pre-election also-ran. I shouldn't even bring up the outlandish – and preposterously clichéd – story contrivance that revolves around a young girl separated from her mother amidst the conflicting, ever-escalating crises (the poor little plot point ends up on a crowded highway, no less), but fuck it, I just did. Cue screech of brakes, Whitaker's unlazy eye, and me, exiting the theatre to go rewatch The Usual Suspects and ponder the nature of exploitave POV usage.