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Movie Review

Vantage Point

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for sequences of intense violence and action, some disturbing images and brief strong language

Reviewed by: Jonathan Rodriguez
CONTRIBUTOR

Offensive
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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Adults
Genre:
Thriller, Drama, Crime
Length:
1 hr. 30 min.
Year of Release:
2008
USA Release:
February 22, 2008 (wide) / DVD release: July 1, 2008
Copyright, Columbia Pictures
Copyright, Columbia Pictures
Copyright, Columbia Pictures
Copyright, Columbia Pictures
Copyright, Columbia Pictures
Copyright, Columbia Pictures
Copyright, Columbia Pictures
Copyright, Columbia Pictures
Copyright, Columbia Pictures
Copyright, Columbia Pictures
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Columbia Pictures

Murder

How does viewing violence in movies affect the family? Answer

Featuring: Ari Brickman, Rodrigo Cachero, Shelby Fenner, Matthew Fox, Dolores Heredia, William Hurt, Richard T. Jones, Penelope Kaufer, Holt McCallany, Bruce McGill, Brian McGovern, Leonardo Nam, Eduardo Noriega, Lisa Owen, Dennis Quaid, Edgar Ramirez, José Carlos Rodríguez, Zoe Saldana, Vidal Sancho, Justin Sundquist, Saïd Taghmaoui, Rocío Verdejo, Sigourney Weaver, Forest Whitaker, Ayelet Zurer
Director: Pete Travis
“Cold Feet,” “Omagh,” “Henry VIII”
Producer: Ricardo Del Río, Andrea Giannetti, Callum Greene, Tania Landau, Tania Landau, Adam Milano, Neal H. Moritz
Distributor: Columbia Pictures

“8 Strangers. 8 Points of View. 1 Truth.”

We have all heard the saying which goes something like, if you put four people on separate corners of an intersection, and asked them to describe the car accident in the middle of the intersection, you'd get four completely different perspectives. Well, the writers and director of Vantage Point beat that two, giving us six viewpoints of the same event, the assassination of the President at the Global Anti-Terror Summit in Spain.

We get the vantage point of the news crew covering the event, the bodyguard assigned to the President, the tourist with the video camera, the Italian cop in the crowd, a shifty man in a cafe, and the perspective of the President himself. This storytelling worked for me, to a point, although I think they could have done without one of the viewpoints, and could have likely done away with the particular character as well. The crowd in the theater seemed to grow weary after about three (mind you this happened to be a much older crowd). As the sixth vantage point reaches the moment where all the others ends, it takes us to the end of the film with many plot twists and turns to keep you guessing till the end… unless you happen to figure things out, which is unfortunately fairly simple.

The film contains a stellar cast, including Sigourney Weaver, Forest Whitaker, Matthew Fox, and the great William Hurt, as the President. However, the actors mentioned all seem to have mailed in their performances. None of them act with much conviction, and seem to simply be playing it safe here in a standard action flick. The plot is an interesting one, and the plot device of the 6 perspectives keeps you interested, but when you stop and actually consider what you are watching, it seems fairly routine. However, one performer single-handedly saves the film, and that is Dennis Quaid, who is great as the President's bodyguard who never slows down, despite experiencing quite a bit of pain along the way. Quaid is entirely believable, and keeps us curious in the film long after the other performers have lost us.

The content in Vantage Point seemed fairly violent for a PG-13 film. We get people shot left and right, some at point blank range, and lots of explosions, car accidents, stabbings, beatings, etc. There is some offensive language in the film, including one F-word, and various mentions of the Lord's name in vain. This film is really only appropriate for older teens and adults, and parents should be careful in taking younger teens and children to the film. There is no spiritual content at all, other than the aforementioned profanities.

As much as I disliked most of the performances, and figured the movie out halfway through, I found myself intrigued because of Dennis Quaid's sincerity as the nervous bodyguard, and because of an impressive car chase that takes up pretty much the last quarter of the movie. This isn't a great film, probably isn't even a good film, but I couldn't help but like it, just a little bit.

Violence: Heavy / Profanity: Moderate / Sex/Nudity: None

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.


Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Comments below:
Positive
Positive—I went to see this movie with my dad and my older brother the second day it was out. I thought it was a great movie. The action was literally non-stop and the suspense kept your eyes glued to the screen every minute of the movie. The only problem was that it got pretty annoying how they kept doing flashbacks for all the main characters. And there were quite a few. I was also disappointed of the profanity. The “s” word was used at least four times, The “h” word was used a few times, “son of b****” was used twice, and the “f” word was used once towards the end. Another problem was that God's name was taken in vain a few times during the more disastrous parts of the film. But other than the language, this a pretty clean film for the teen and older audience. I would even have to say that this movie, in my opinion, was better than The Bourne Ultimatum. Which was a another great action/thriller.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Zac P., age 13
Positive—This was a really good, mostly clean movie. Most of the time a movie's story is great but the language, violence or sex/nudity makes us refuse to see it, or the reverse, the movie has a bad story with no objectionable content. This movie really impressed me, my husband and I were very happy to have chosen this one.

Here is a breakdown of general categories that I look for in the reviews that I read myself: Language-It had less than 10 curse words, Christ was uttered once.

Nudity or sexual scenes-None. Violence-No bloody gory type violence. Shooting with bullets seen going into bodies, and blood soaking into clothing. A very long and intense car chase. AND, on top of the cleanliness of it it had a great plot with great acting in it. This is the type of movie that I would like to see made more of. My husband and I both left the theatre (after going to a matinee) saying that we would have paid full price for this movie, which doesn't happen too often these days. The plot really made me think and was not predictable.

I saved the hardest category for last, biblical accuracy. That is always a hard one for me because I don't watch movies and think about that, I get immersed in the movie and characters which is why I am very critical about what I watch to begin with. With that said, there were several instances of seeing people willing to sacrifice themselves for the sake of others. Putting themselves in harm's way without thought of what would happen to them, that to me is Christ-like. There were some political threads woven throughout part of the movie but I felt that the reaction of the president was very moral.

I highly recommend this movie. You could take kids (12 and older) to it but you would maybe have to explain how they are doing this movie different than just running from beginning to end. There are 8 different points of view and as they run through each person's view point, they go back to the beginning and show the next person's view point, each time different details and clues are revealed. It is amazing how they were able to do this and keep it completely interesting, it was not boring or predictable ever. The acting was excellent, Forrest Whitaker and Dennis Quaid were exceptional in this movie. Matthew Fox did an excellent job as well along with the other actors. This movie was well worth both my time and my money, my mind was challenged and entertained and I didn't sacrifice my spiritual integrity!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Sheila Myers, age 36
Positive—This movie is excellent, exciting, very well made. The cast was really good. This film took you beyond the typical motion pictures out there right now. I don't know if this movie is a remake of another movie, but if not it was very original. I heard a couple sighs in the theater when the movie took you through all the vantage points, but it was worth it because by the end of the movie you understand what the writer was trying to accomplish. The only complaints I had was the mild language and the very unnecessary f-bomb at the end.

Some of the images of people being murdered were slightly hard to watch, but it depicts reality of what's going on in the world today. Dennis Quade should get an oscar for this movie, his performance was outstanding. Matthew Fox from the television show “LOST” was a little bit unbelievable because he just seems like such a nice guy. If you like edge of the seat non-stop action definitely go see this film, but just be cognizant of the violence.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Gene Cooks, age 32
Positive—I loved this movie, it was intriguing and had you right there in the moment. This was a great PG-13 movie, although the content was mature for a younger audience, I think it was relative to the times of today.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Hayley, age 26
Positive—While this movie had no spiritual themes to redeem it, my husband and I thoroughly enjoyed it for its entertainment value. It was, however, very violent with a lot of profanity. There were a couple of holes (namely how the secret service was portrayed) but it still kept us hanging on to the very end. Dennis Quaid was fantastic. If nothing else, it's a good conversation starter for how the media can shape our view of world happenings.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Anjanette, age 32
Positive—This movie turned out to be a good old fashioned conspiracy thriller. This is a very realistic film with an awesome car chases. I do admit they probably borrowed it from the legendary Bourne Series, but still overall a great film. Speaking of Bourne Edgar Ramirez did a great job playing the terrorist… he was the assassin in “The Bourne Ultimatum.”
My Ratings: Moral rating: Excellent! / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Jonathan Tran, age 15
Positive—Vantage Point is the best movie since The Bourne Ultimatum. I do admit that I think Vantage Point borrowed the car chase from that awesome series. Overall, a lot of action. Miss a second you will miss a lot.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Jonathan Tran, age 24
Positive— I went to see this movie with my mom and grandpa and we were really looking forward to it. I thought the movie was really good and it definitely kept me on the edge of my seat. Although it was a little repetitive, the movie's plot was very well planned out. The only issue for me was the language in the movie but I quickly forgot it when it moved to the next scene. Vantage Point is mainly based on a terrorist kind of thing and I think it really shows you how severe and horrible terrorism can be. Bottom Line: Go see this movie if you want a great action flick to spice up your day!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 3½
—Brittney, age 14
Positive—My husband and I went to see this film last night. While there was some offensive language, it was pretty average as far as content goes. We enjoy a good thriller drama, but this film wouldn't rate as “a must see.” A tad boring and definitely repetitive, but it was entertaining and it wasn't too objectionable.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 3
—Karen, age 41
Neutral
Neutral—The person that reviewed the film is extremely accurate!! Read it fully and it won't ruin the movie for you. The whole recounting the events starts back with a clock so you can see it's repeating. There were people laughing every time it played it, so it seemed like quite a few people thought it was more corny than thrilling. It was okay. I would wait for it on DVD, not worth the money of the theatre or the thrill of the big screen.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Very Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 3½
—Heather, age 31
Neutral—This movie grabs you right from the start and is filled with action and excitement. I must say that the car chase was a little much for me though. People are shot left, right and centre with no hesitation, as if the shooters were playing some video game. What bothered me the most is that the name of the Lord Jesus is taken in vain quite a few times during the movie. I did like some of the suspense and the “idea” of seeing it from different points of view. (Going back in time and seeing it from a different perspective)
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 3
—Jacques Lemieux, age 55
Neutral—This movie did not have a lot of offensive material whatsoever. I have to say it was clean compared to a lot of movies these days. Though the plot was interesting and intriguing, the actual process the filmmakers took to reveal key points in the movie (without giving too much away) was lacking. It wasn't until the last 30 min or so that the movie actually started moving along. I would recommend waiting for the DVD release.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 3
—Jennifer, age 37
Negative
Negative—This film grabs you from the start and is for the most part exciting. Lots of action, but the car chase was a little much for me.

People are getting shot right, left, and center, just like in a video game; no emotions, no regrets, no feelings.

What bothered me the most was that the name of Jesus was used in vain quite a few times.

The fact that they go back in time to show different “views” of the incident may confuse some people as to who is a “bad/good guy” and who just happens to be there at the time.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 3
—Jacques Lemieux, age 55
Negative—Let me sum it up for you in case you don't want to read a long thing. Repetitive the whole way through. I got very bored halfway through. Adults might like this more than anyone else but even then there were many sighs and talking. No one was good except Forrest Whitaker. I was dragged to see it.

Don't be fooled by any other comments you read here. Don't go. If you insist on seeing it then at least wait for DVD but if not then never see it. Totally lame. Biblically it showed how greed and violence can corrupt people and the society around them. In the end… everyone loses. Avoid this film if you can.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 1½
—Jordan, age 15
Negative—Let me make this short. It was sooo repetitive I figured out what was going to happen by the 4th time it repeated. Nothing in my mind was morally offensive. But that is just my opinion. I would not recommend that you to see this movie.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 1½
—Lisa, age 23
Negative—“Vantage Point” is less of a story than a technical exercise and as a result it left me feeling pretty cold. Vantage Point starts off ok with Sigourney Weaver's news team and continues to entertain for a while but quickly runs out of fuel when we realize that essentially we are going to see the same actions AGAIN and AGAIN. And as a technical exercise the film doesn't quite work for several reasons.

1.) Due to the film's structure there is limited character development.
2.) A key plot twist is given away by the previews.
3.) The Presidents vantage point sequence is very dialogue heavy and the dialogue is weak.
4.) The conspiracy is quite confusing.
5.) The vantage points end mid-stream cutting right in the middle of the action(an effort to add more suspense), rewind the images, and fade the screen to black, give us a clock that counts 3 seconds to noon time, and give us the same church bell ringing AGAIN and AGAIN. This might have been tolerable once but the repetition of it swiftly becomes annoying.
6.) Although we are supposed to be seeing things from a character's perspective the camera often doesn't show us certain things that they are supposed to be seeing. If this is their perspective why aren't we seeing what they are seeing?
7.) The action sequences at the end are ineffective.
8.) “Vantage Point” gives us at the end a vantage point that shows us everything from an unbiased perspective belonging only to the audience not any particular character(since it jumps to events not every character could possibly see). This renders all the previous action pointless and left me feeling as though my time had been wasted with all the different perspectives.
9.) I didn't believe that terrorists would undo all their efforts to avoid running a little girl over.
10.) How did Forrest Whittaker know that the man who jumps the stage is telling the truth about his identity since there is no shot of him being anywhere near him to know this? “Vantage Point” is ultimately hiding its unoriginality in the perspective structure. If you want to see a better film using a similar structure I recommend Rashoman. Content: Some rough language and violence that I felt was extreme for a PG-13 film.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 2½
—Andrew, age 32
Comments from young people
Neutral—I saw this movie a few days after it came out it is a great movie, the lords name was put in vain 1-3 times although it was discreet. Overall, great movie, great point, the thrill is non-stop action. one of the best movies of the year.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Evan, age 15
Positive—Well, this movie was good in a certain point of view. The movie's plot, was great, it would have been a GREAT movie if they hadn't repeated the point of views so much, I remember my dad saying: 'oh-uh, there it goes again, the spanish guy's turn, oh-uh, the president's point of view, now that other guy's point of view, ect. The movie in the beggening was good, but then it began getting tiring, and it also ended suddenly, as in there was no “happily ever after” When I saw the trailer, I was really anxious to see it, but when I did, I was sort of disapointed, DO NOT BUY this movie if you really want to see it, if you can, see it in a friend's house, in Wal-Mart, or anywhere you can without having to pay, THEN you decide. The violence in this movie is Moderate, it isn't gory, or unecessary, remember, you are watching a film about the secret service, in any movie you see about the secret service, you will see atleast a gun, so the movie is pretty good in that area, as for the language, it is a little unnecessary, it isn't constant, but you might not want to take your children to see it with you.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 3
—Marco Antonio, age 14