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Vantage Point

Released

Latest Home Video

Jun 30, 2008

MPAA Rating:

PG-13


Cast

Dennis Quaid

Matthew Fox

Forest Whitaker

Sigourney Weaver.

Studio

Columbia Pictures

Still shot from the movie: Vantage Point.

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Reviewed by

Overall C+
ViolenceD+
SexA-
LanguageC-
Drugs/AlcoholA
Run Time

Making the Grades

If you've ever had the chance to play with the "angle" button on your DVD player using a disc that offers multiple points-of-view, then you will immediately understand the concept behind Vantage Point.

The US President (William Hurt) is in Spain to attend a landmark summit with the hopes of somehow bringing an end to terrorism. Thousands of spectators occupying the square make the occasion a security nightmare -- especially when gunshots break out shortly after the mayor of the city introduces the leader.

From our view in the broadcast truck covering the event, we see the President get hit and bowled over. Secret Service agent Thomas Barnes (Dennis Quaid), who has only recently been reinstated after taking a bullet for the Chief a year earlier, rushes across the stage and tackles Enrique (Eduardo Noriega), a badge-wearing man claiming to be a local undercover cop in charge of protecting the mayor. As the scene quickly degrades into mayhem a bomb explodes creating a war zone with bloodied bodies and injured people everywhere.

All of a sudden the film rewinds, and we (the audience) repeat the entire sequence again -- only this time from the perspective of Thomas. After the President drops and the bomb detonates, we return to those few seconds before noon and watch the scene unfold once more through the eyes of Enrique. Then another five times thanks to footage captured by Howard Lewis (Forest Whitaker), a camera-happy US tourist with a new high definition video camera, and several other witnesses.

With each replay, different pieces of the puzzle are revealed helping us piece together the circumstances leading up to the deadly tragedy. The final picture is a surprisingly captivating, edge-of-your-seat experience.

Although the initial shock of the assassination lessens with each rewind-and-repeat, the violence still pushes the limits of the US PG-13 rating the film received from the Motion Picture Association of America. Along with the aforementioned depictions, various viewpoints following the aftermath contain portrayals of at least a dozen people being shot on screen (blood is shown) and others losing their lives in a blast by a suicide bomber. An extended, intense car chase through the narrow city streets implies many more innocent bystanders are killed or injured from resulting brutal collisions.

Language is a concern as well, with the script including a variety of moderate and mild profanities and the single use of a sexual expletive. Fortunately, sexual content is comprised only of a brief conversation between a man and woman referring to their relationship.

Parents considering sharing this film with their older teens may also want to address the ethics of what is fast becoming a new entertainment genre: Action terrorism. Beginning as documentation of the terror attacks on America in 2001 (United 93 and World Trade Center), movies are now venturing into speculative fiction. While this production can claim to be a Vantage Point from eight new angles, there is still the overriding issue of obtaining thrills from real-world tragedies.

Discussion Ideas After The Movie

Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about Vantage Point.

How do you feel about the recent trend in action films to depict terrorist activities? Does this help us to overcome and better understand the realities of terrorism in our society, or does it fuel further speculation or even imitation of depicted acts?

Why does the shock factor of violent acts decrease with repeated viewings? Do you feel this applies only to movies, or to real life events?

Talk about the movie with your family…

How do you feel about the recent trend in action films to depict terrorist activities? Does this help us to overcome and better understand the realities of terrorism in our society, or does it fuel further speculation or even imitation of depicted acts?

Why does the shock factor of violent acts decrease with repeated viewings? Do you feel this applies only to movies, or to real life events?

Canadian Movie Ratings

BC
SK
14A Violence.
AB 14A Violence.
MB 14A Not Recommeded for Young Children, Violence.-----
ON 14A VIOLENCE. LANGUAGE MAY OFFEND.
QC 13+
NB
NS
NL
PE
14A

Canadian Home Video Rating: 14A

Watch @ Home

Details on home video releases of Vantage Point...

Vantage Point releases to DVD in a two-disc set, which offers a digital copy of the film in both perspectives: full frame and wide screen. Also included are An Inside Perspective (interviews with cast and crew), Plotting an Assassination (interview with first-time screenwriter Barry Levy), deleted scenes and commentary with director Pete Travis.

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