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Category:    Home > Reviews > Thriller > Mystery > Assassination > Vantage Point (2008/Sony Blu-ray + DVD-Video)

Vantage Point (2008/Sony Blu-ray + DVD-Video)

 

Picture: B+/C+†††† Sound: B+/B-†††† Extras: B-†††† Film: B-

 

 

There was a time when Hollywood turned out good thrillers here and there, but rarely these days do they seem to be able to without making a formulaic mess or some package deal (star driven at that) that never works and no one talks about once its initial run is over.What happened?Political correctness, writers who have zero understanding of suspense and the inability of writers to make a mystery tale of any kind with substance are the main problems in most cases.Pete Travisí Vantage Point (2008) did not so well because so many films before were so bad, but it turns out to be one of the better thrillers in a while.

 

We get a terrorist assassination attempt told from multiple angles and in multiple views.Instead of trying to be fancy or show-off, it is smart and complex without going overboard or getting distracted.If you follow the film closely enough, it fits together nicely and has an ensemble cast that is a plus, with only a few minor loose ends and a waste of time on a device that shows scenes you just watched being rewound that may have turned off one-too-many of the critics.

 

Dennis Quaid (in one of his best roles of late) is a disgraced secret service agent determined to protect The President of the United States (William Hurt) now that he is back on the job, but little does he know he is being set up in an elaborate plot to undermine the country and attack him.There is another world leader there, there is the man (Forest Whittaker) with a hand-held HD camcorder who captures more than he expects, the news crew run by a veteran director (Sigourney Weaver) who has several cameras going at once, her reporter in the field (Zoe Saldana) closest to the action, a fellow secret serviceman (Matthew Fox) and others who all have different perspectives, including the ones who are involved in the set-up to kill and worse.


Who did it?How?What do they want?Who has the upper hand?

 

Instead of trying to be Pulp Fiction or Rashomon, the film wants to emulate some of the 1970s great thrillers (the name alone suggests The Parallax View) and though this is too laced with new video technology to remind us of gritty thrillers (The French Connection) of the time, it is not a bad modern equivalent and one that in Barry J. Leviís decent screenplay (with maybe a touch of Memento) is well-thought out and plotted with some impact despite the danger of being derailed.The result is even fun and if you like this kind of film, you are likely to be at least somewhat impressed.Youíll see why so many big names and up-and-comers signed on.

 

 

The 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image looks very good, despite some brief soft shots and the mock-ups of video screen purposely degraded.Shot in Super 35mm by Director of Photography Amir Mokri in some of the best work he has done to date.It is also very impressive when compared to the surprisingly weak, anamorphically enhanced 2.35 X 1 DVD image, which is poor in so many ways, but even it is better than the lame 1.33 X 1 full screen version which looks even worse!

 

The Dolby TrueHD 5.1 mix is pretty decent throughout with clear dialogue, a good soundfield, ambiance, sound effects and good score by Atli Orvarsson, though the Dolby Digital 5.1 mix on both format versions is not bad, though it is chopped up when playing the 1.33 X 1 atrocity.Bass is good and only the rewind sound effect is annoying.

 

Extras are the same on both versions, though the Blu-ray adds the Vantage Viewer: GPS Tracker so you can follow the characters in the narrative in another way, while the DVD offers the ability to download a digital copy for PCs and portable devices.An Inside Perspective: Interviews with Cast & Crew, Plotting The Assassination featurette, Coordinating Chaos: Stunt Featurette, Surveillance Tapes: Outtake and solid audio commentary by Director Travis make for some very entertaining extras.

 

 

-†† Nicholas Sheffo


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