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Vantage Point

If You Think You've Seen it all...Look Again. 

Year: 2008 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: Unknown 
Certificate: BBFC 12A Cert – Under 12s admitted only with an adult 
Subtitles: The level of subtitling in this film is unknown to WSC 
Directed by Unknown 
Starring: Unknown  
An image from Vantage Point

Director: Pete Travis

Starring: Dennis Quaid, Matthew Fox, Forest Whitaker

Have you ever seen a TV channel cover some breaking news and thought you were only given bits of the information? Have you ever wished to see a story through the eyes of a supporting character? Then Vantage Point is made for you. The film unravels different threads of the action by showing it successively through the eyes of different actors and witnesses.

And the action is of some importance indeed - in Salamanca, Spain, during a speech following a summit on the war on terror, the U.S. President is shot dead. Obviously, chaos ensues - and things only get worse when bombs start to explode. Two of the Secret Services agents in charge (Dennis Quaid and Matthew 'Lost' Fox) take on the action-packed chase of whoever might be behind those two rifle shots, and gradually lose control, giving room for more thrills, car-races and muscled stunts.

All the elements are here for a classic secret services investigation film - a recipe that has been proven to be successful by the likes of the James Bond movies. However, Vantage Point offers a new dynamic and a unique perspective: the back stories of each character are meticulously thought of, and giving insights on them to the viewer allows for a complex interaction between the two lead secret services agents, as well as other characters.

But what makes Vantage Point a unique film, is actually its very premise - show the same event through different points of view. There are people involved (especially the two agents), the media, and very importantly Howard Lewis, portrayed by Forest Whitaker - a random American who just happened to be there with his camcorder. This last character provides what usually lacks in action movies - someone you can identify with, who reacts as you'd expect to react yourself.

Instead of simply providing different vantage points, as one might say, and repeating the same story over and over again to the point of boredom, it keeps you on the edge of your seat by bringing in new clues with each of the five perspectives, so that it is only with the full picture that you can wholly appreciate the events portrayed at the beginning of the film.

Gripping, exciting, sexy, but also thought-provoking, Vantage Point is more than your average action movie.

Pierre Schramm

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Screenings of this film:

2007/2008 Summer Term (35mm)