Vantage Point (2008/Sony Blu-ray + DVD-Video)
B+/C+†††† Sound: B+/B-†††† Extras: B-†††† Film: B-
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.
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?
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.
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!
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.
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