Vantage Point
Directed by Pete Travis (R)

A presidential assassination attempt is seen through the eyes of eight bystanders.


“Any seat in any theater showing Vantage Point is a disadvantage point,” said Joe Morgenstern in The Wall Street Journal. This chaotic thriller tries to get by on a gimmick. The president is apparently shot and killed while addressing a summit on global terror, and eight observers must uncover the truth. The film then shows us each character’s point of view on the shooting, and thus “beats the audience about the ears, eyes, and brain” for 90 minutes with the same few events. The thudding repetition thickens the pulp but never the plot, said Owen Gleiberman in Entertainment Weekly. Director Pete Travis pumps up the action and layers on the plot twists, but as a conspiracy thriller the film makes no sense. “It would embarrass Tom Clancy.” Preoccupied with storytelling tricks, Travis neglects his cast, said Kenneth Turan in the Los Angeles Times. Forest Whitaker and Dennis Quaid go mostly to waste as Vantage Point proves that “a good script needs to be more than a clever concept” and an action film requires more than quick cuts.