Vantage Point (*)
Vantage Point offers election year audiences the sick pleasure of watching a staid U.S. president getting shot again and again and again—though that pleasure wears quickly thin when the president is a rumpled, wooden William Hurt, who, as the film’s trailer even indicates, seems to possess strange powers of resurrection.
Otherwise, Vantage Point is the worst film of the year so far, with an approach so dumbed-down, so bathetic, that it makes the last season of 24 seem like Scorsese. Indeed, most current action-thriller television has matured far beyond what Vantage Point stoops to. Behold its atrocious sound design: a mandolin-heavy soundtrack (uh, it’s set in Salamanca, Spain, so naturally…) populated by all the thriller clichés—the underwater heartbeat sound, the gunshot/metal-door-slamming-shut sound, the slow-mo “Nooooooo!”s. There’s also the primitive, it’s-who-you-least-expected plot twists and, above all, the uniformly crappy performances: the amount of good actors doing bad jobs here—Sigourney Weaver, Dennis Quaid, Forest Whitaker, William Hurt—proves what a difference a good director makes.
Don’t be fooled, then, by the film’s marketing pitch, which promises a high concept “puzzle” told from eight different points of view (Quaid has had the gall to compare it to Rashomon in interviews). This may be the case, sort of, but viewers are no better for it; rather, a shamelessly 24-esque digital clock in the bottom left hand corner of the screen shows us the same time every ten minutes or so, a deadly sign that we will have to return to the story’s silly beginning yet again, and witness the continuity and plausibility errors continue their inexorable pile-up.
Vantage Point is now playing at Beach Cinemas (1651 Queen St. E.), Rainbow Market Square (80 Front St. E.), Scotiabank Theatre (259 Richmond St. W.) and others.