Deja View is the point
The audible groan emitted by the audience midway through the fast paced thriller “Vantage Point” is less about its “24”-influenced style than it is about its “Groundhog Day” approach after the fifth time the screen goes dark and the clock resets to the opening scene. That kind of response can’t be a good sign. In the end, the film isn’t a total waste and it finishes up with a better-than-average-car chase.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. (Groan).
“Vantage Point” presents a presidential assassination attempt that occurs at a public gala in Salamanca, Spain and does so from the perspective of various characters: A returning-from-a leave-of-absence Secret Service veteran (Dennis Quaid in permanent scowl visage), a tourist (Forest Whitaker in overacting mode), POTUS (a dignified, solemn, William Hurt), and a police officer (Eduardo Noriega in his first major American film).
The film’s major flaw, beyond the rather average acting and hollow script (one usually precedes the other, especially in action films), is that the whodunit-with-terrorist-undertones approach never takes off and doesn’t test, shock or surprise the audience in any unique way.
There are 24 million reasons (one for each dollar the film earned last weekend) that a film apparently designed for fans of “24” gets made. And while “Vantage Point” has the freedom to show us something a television show can’t, (a little more blood might have helped matters, as shocking as that sounds) or kill a lead character like a TV series won’t, it never lifts itself beyond its small screen ambitions.
Handheld camera techniques are now de riguer for this genre, but “Vantage Point,” when compared to the “Bourne” series or even “Cloverfield,” feels slight and forgettable.
Rated PG-13 (Violence, profanity)