When the same story is told eight different times through the eyes of eight different people, one expects the story being told to be filled with plenty of opinion, back story and detail.
“Vantage Point,” however, directed by Pete Travis, who makes his big-screen directorial debut, lacks the feel of a film that attempts to pull off such a daunting task. Nonetheless, the film is still an entertaining watch and proves to be the movie that relights the star-power fire of Dennis Quaid, while giving Matthew Fox the versatility to be taken seriously in different types of roles.
In 2006, “Babel,” a film starring Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett, was released and took a similar path as this picture. However, director Alejandro González Iñárritu was able to make each segment and narrative of the film feel different enough to captivate the audience and fill in the gaps of the story. What “Vantage Point” does is simply rehash the same story and provide a few more details than the last person was able to reveal. This slow-moving plot that ends with a happily-ever-after ending isn’t exactly going to win Travis any awards. Regardless of that, however, there are a few ingredients in the film’s clam chowder to make you reach for your spoon.
Quaid (“Flight of the Phoenix,” “Enemy Mine”) does a great job as Thomas Barnes, the jittery Secret Service agent with something to prove. If his subtle demeanor wasn’t enough to capture his cool, laid-back type of bravado, his wit and ability to clothesline people and exhibit Al Unser-like driving skills will. Simply put, this role is something new for Quaid, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a bad thing for him. He pulls off the never-say-die action hero better than actors half his age in this film and is one of the best reasons to see the feature.
The same can be said for heartthrob Mathew Fox, who’s known for his role on the TV mega-hit, “Lost.” Already armed with killer-good looks and a charisma that was probably responsible for landing him the role, Fox does a more than solid job as agent Kent Taylor. Rather than spoil the plot, let’s just say that Fox’s role definitely will shock fans of his work on “Lost” and will cast him in a different light in the future.
Add in solid supporting roles by Forrest Whitaker (“Ghost Dog,” “The Last King of Scotland”) and Sigourney Weaver (“Ghostbusters,” “Aliens”), and you have a cast that is capable of delivering a quality film. However, the talent in the film far outweighs the sum of the films parts, as the story isn’t nearly as deep and multilayered as you’d expect it to be, making it an adequate 90-minute experience, rather than a breathtaking one.