Vantage Point (2008) - 2-Disc Deluxe Edition

Genre(s): Action / Drama / Thriller
Sony || PG13 - 90 minutes - $34.95 || July 1, 2008
Reviewer: Brian Oliver || Posted On: 2008-07-04


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

.:: V I D E O ::.
Video

.:: A U D I O ::.
Audio

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: Pete Travis
Writer(s): Barry Levy (written by)
Cast: Dennis Quaid, Matthew Fox, Forest Whitaker, Bruce McGill, Edgar Ramirez, Sigourney Weaver, William Hurt


Theatrical Release Date: February 22, 2008


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • Director's Commentary
  • Outtake
  • An Inside Perspective: Cast/Crew Interviews
  • Plotting an Assassination
  • Coordinating Chaos: Stunt Featurette


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Widescreen (2.40)
  • English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish

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.::THE FILM::.

IMAGE

Vantage Point is a tale of two films really. The first half is very redundant (literally) and too predictable -- I knew the twist, which is revealed near the start of the final act --, but once the story goes from several points of view and, admittedly, strays into standard thriller territory, the movie is actually fairly entertaining. But what keeps this from being a very good film is how director Pete Travis unveils each POV by going to each person one after another. This way of editing felt at times disjointed and takes the audience out of the story rather than pulling them in.

This ensemble political thriller includes an all-star talented cast, all centered around a Summit in Spain to discuss global terrorism: Dennis Quaid as Thomas Barnes, a Secret Service agent assigned to The President who, one year earlier, took a bullet for the man. Kent Taylor (Fox; TV’s “Lost”) is Barnes’ partner who got him back on the President’s detail; he has his own viewpoint as he goes after the assassin (his story comes later). Ensemble-go-to man (see: Even Money and The Air I Breathe) Forest Whitaker plays Howard Lewis, an American, away from his family, on vacation in Europe. While attending the summit, he records everything going on and becomes a valuable asset into what may be happening. Sigourney Weaver’s segment opens the movie up playing Rex Brooks, a TV executive covering the Summit. And, of course, another segment follows President Ashton played by William Hurt. You already know his story if you’ve seen the trailer (I cannot see how you could’ve avoided, though). The last 2 or 3 viewpoints (I lost track) follow Edgar Martinez (The Bourne Ultimatum) as Javier, a man who could be at the center of all that is happening; and Eduardo Noriega as a Spanish Police Officer assigned to protect the mayor.

Whoo that was a lot to go through... Now imagine seeing each one of those segment get replayed one after another and most ending on the same shot. I’m all for innovative styles and direction, but it did become rather annoying after the 5th restart. That said, I did enjoy the movie overall because of this talented cast. Even when doing his best impression of Harrison Ford (when barking his lines), Quaid is so much fun to watch onscreen. He’s one of the few actors I can instantly like.

Same goes for a man like Forest Whitaker. He can be in an average movie but he rarely gives a poor performance and in fact can rise above the material. In the case of Vantage Point, while he doesn’t have much to go off of, and his character of all of them was a bit of a stretch, Whitaker is still has some presence or weight in the film.

The others give fine performances. You can never go wrong with vets Sigourney Weaver or William Hurt and Matthew Fox is doing his best to make his transition from television to film much smoother than other TV stars.

The story of a Summit where The President of the United States gets assassination is an interesting one. When removing the multiple segments, though having so many viewpoints was really the purpose of the film, it’s actually a thrilling little story that doesn’t really bog itself down on a political message and instead focuses on becoming an involving thriller more than anything else.

Vantage Point gets a slightly above average rating from me primarily for the first 10 minutes (focusing on Weaver’s character and reaction) and the last act as the story goes into overdrive and all the waiting and frustration of the multiple viewpoints come to a head with exhilarating results. This is, however, at best a rental mainly because the replay value on a movie like this is fairly limited.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

Sony has a few releases for Vantage Point including a Blu-ray version, single disc and a “2-Disc Deluxe Edition”, which is covered here.

Even though this is a 2-disc set, the only reason a second disc was even needed, the remaining extras on disc two would’ve fit on the first disc, is because of Sony’s Bonus Digital Copy which can only be used either on a PC or a PSP, no iPod or other portable devices.

One the first disc is a commentary with director Pete Travis. He does provide some insight into making the movie but he quickly goes into play-by-play mode. The other extra is an outtake (0:42) involving Travis coming into a scene.

Disc two contains a few featurettes, none of which are really that fascinating, but worth at least one viewing at least. An Inside Perspective (26:42) features interviews with the cast and crew and goes through each character, the director, writer, story, music, etc. Kind of a paint-by-numbers affair; Plotting an Assassination (15:59) really is more of an extension on “Perspective” as is Coordinating Chaos (7:27). Both featurettes go into how the film was shot. Taking this as a 3-part “Making-of”, it’s actually a fairly lengthy 50-minute featurette.



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

IMAGE

When Vantage Point first started, the title came on screen with the left part in black. I first notice that it looked almost like an dark, dark gray so I was almost afraid that the black levels in general would be off, but as the film progressed and during some of the rare dark scenes, it seemed to be just fine. The picture itself looks very good with skin tones and colors seem to be just right. Sony offers the film in either widescreen (2.40) or, for any cinema-masochists, a full screen version.

I actually wasn’t very impressed with sound. Although sometimes even a standard Dolby Digital 5.1 track can provide a booming experience for the watcher, I had to adjust the sound a few times to either hear dialog or get the full impact on sound effects.



.::OVERALL::.

Conceptually, Vantage Point is a solid thriller, but the execution, primarily by director Pete Travis, could have been better. But the ensemble is good and the final act is quickly paced and turns what was a (literally) redundant story into a slam bam action-thriller that almost makes up for the film’s shortfalls. There are certainly worse movies out there to rent, so I do recommend giving this one a chance next time you’re at your local video rental store.