First Posted: 2/29/2008

The storyU.S. President Ashton (William Hurt) arrives in Spain for an international summit. Leaders from five continents will sign an anti-terrorism pact — an extraordinary achievement. Someone shoots the President. Explosions follow. Who is responsible? Will they wreck the summit? Multiple characters seek answers — Global News Network producer Rex Brooks (Sigourney Weaver), Secret Service agents Thomas Barnes and Kent Taylor (Dennis Quaid, Matthew Fox), tourist Howard Lewis (Forest Whitaker), and Spanish cop Enrique (Eduardo Noriega). We see the assassination and explosions from each character’s point of view, getting more information each time.Who wants to wreck the summit? Will the plot succeed? How do multiple plot threads fit together? How many times will we see the same explosions? Who are all these characters? Actors“Vantage Point” features a dozen competent actors, all contributing to the story. However, this is not an ensemble film because character plot lines don’t often intersect. Dennis Quaid is on screen most as Secret Service agent Thomas Barnes. He took a bullet for the President previously and may now be unreliable. Matthew Fox is his take-charge partner Kent Taylor. Lonely tourist (and video camera enthusiast) Howard Lewis — played by Forest Whitaker — survives the chaos to reunite with his family. Eduardo Noriega is a local cop who may — or may not — be part of the conspiracy. As President Ashton, William Hurt resists the hawkish advice of advisors, seeking to save the international summit. Sigourney Weaver has one scene as GNN cable news producer Rex Brooks.Others in the large cast include Bruce McGil as presidential adviser Phil McCullough and Edgar Ramirez, Said Taghmaoui and Ayelet Zurer as conspirators. Dolores Heredia and young Alicia Zapien are bystanders caught up in the turmoil.Other comments“Vantage Point” is a standard who-shot-who political thriller. Director Pete Travis and writer Barry Levy had higher ambitions judging by the film’s set-up. We see the same events from the vantage points of six different characters. But this is no classic like Kurosawa’s “Roshomon” (1950). We get plot information from each character, but no psychological insights. Half way through the movie, Travis and Levy give up their story-telling gimmick and go for the usual car-chase action finish in which all the (improbable) plot lines come (more or less) together. “We need to tie up all the loose ends,” says a character. Watch for car chase references to “The French Connection” (1971).At 90 minutes, it’s PG-13 for violence, disturbing images and language.Final wordsWe see “Vantage Point”From six points of view,It’s not an artsy flick —It’s just a who-shot-who.