Plot: What’s it about?
I’m a big fan of the more counter-culture films out there, films that don’t exactly mold themselves to the usual Hollywood fare. “Vantage Point” is a movie that I’d place in that category as it’s interesting and unique, though not all together completely original. I’m reminded of a few other movies that play tricks on our senses: “Sliding Doors” with Gwyenth Paltrow showed how a woman’s life could be altered irrevocably just by missing a subway. “Groundhog Day” showed us how different a man’s life can be by living the same day (literally) over and over again. And “Run Lola Run” gave us an interesting perspective on the same event with the different scenarios. “Vantage Point” is like these films in it’s perception of an event, though we witness that event from an omniscient point of view. It’s amazing how much we can learn from a different perspective and “Vantage Point” extrapolates that and makes for an interesting 90 minutes.
The actual events take place in twenty minutes (twenty three to be exact), but as we constantly rewind and see them from a different point of view, we end up with a full-length film. The ensemble cast does a fine job and if there were any central character, it’d have to be Thomas Barnes (Dennis Quaid). Barnes is a Secret Service agent who had literally taken a bullet for the President (William Hurt) the previous year. This is his first assignment since his recovery and a litmus test to see if he’s still up to the job. While at a peace rally in Spain, the President is shot twice and as chaos ensues, we see a few key people that tell us what we need to know. There’s the Spanish policeman (Eduardo Noriega) that moves a little too quickly, the American tourist (Forest Whitaker) who manages to film the entire scene and the mysterious woman who delivers a bomb just after the President is shot. Individually these pieces are unsubstantial and don’t add up, but add them all together and it’s, literally, a different story.
“Vantage Point” plays with time and space like any good movie should, it doesn’t mislead the viewer in any direction, merely prods them along until the next event is noticed. I, for one, found it intriguing and exciting and it’s one of those you might have to watch again just to see if you catch something you missed the firs time around. I remember doing that with “Memento” several years back and it did help me really “get” the movie. The casting is diverse, with some faces we don’t see to much and I neglected to mention Sigourney Weaver, who at nearly sixty years old, still looks pretty darn good. While “Vantage Point” may not exactly blow your mind, it’s a very interesting take on filmmaking and one that should entice viewers to watch more than once.
Video: How does it look?
“Vantage Point” is shown in a 2.40:1 HD AVC transfer that looks positively amazing. The movie is brand new to the format and as a big budget ($40 million) film, we can expect a lot. The image is razor sharp and I’m hard-pressed to find anything that was less than perfect. I suppose in a few of the scenes, we get a bit of debris but I’m tempted to say that was the intended effect. Forest Whitaker’s character spends most of the movie capturing everything on his Sony HD camcorder and that’s a metaphor for how this looks on screen. It’s perfect.
Audio: How does it sound?
We get a Dolby TrueHD track here that’s just as robust as I thought it would be. Guns firing, car chases and even an explosion here and there make for a very active and interesting soundtrack. Dialogue, as can be expected, is flawless and Sony has even prepped subtitles for those of us that aren’t fluent in Spanish. Directional effects are stellar and the LFE play a big part in the mix as well. Like the video, the audio is amazing, though I wouldn’t classify it as reference quality.
Supplements: What are the extras?
“Vantage Point” comes to Blu-ray equipped with enough extras to warrant a purchase and even a Blu-ray exclusive that I’ll touch on later. We start off with an audio commentary with director Pete Travis. Travis gives us his take on the film and what inspired him to make it. He’s also present in a few of the featurettes as well and aside from being an unusual-looking person, he’s a bit on the odd side as well. Still, the track is chock full of information and it’s a good listen. There are a few featurettes: “Coordinating Chaos” and “Writing the Assassination of a President” which take a look at some of the behind the scenes material and the subject matter of the film. More interesting was “Una Conversacion Con Eduardo Noriega” in which the Spanish actor is interviewed and tells us of his role. We get a brief outtake with director Pete Travis and the original theatrical trailer. Moving onto the Blu-ray exclusive, we get a GPS tracker that lets you follow any of the main characters and pinpoints their location in relation to the other characters in the movie. Not only is it a pretty cool way to keep tabs on what’s going on, but it’s a great way to showcase next generation technology as well.