Movie Review: Vantage Point

How many TV shows have you seen about the conspiracy theory behind the assassination of President John F. Kennedy? Imagine if they had the technology now available to examine and re-examine the event from a multitude of vantage points.

That is the premise of this hard-hitting action film which is about a terrorist assassination plot of the President of the USA as he takes the podium to address a rally in Salamanca, Spain. At the center of the investigation is a Secret Service agent Thomas Barnes, (Dennis Quaid), who has taken a bullet for President Ashton (William Hurt) and is just re-entering active duty. Barnes' paranoia over concerns for the President's safety prove an obstacle in finding the perpetrators of the bombing, and it takes the tape on the camcorder of American tourist Howard Lewis (Forest Whittaker) to get Barnes on the right track. Lewis is an ordinary citizen who refuses to stand by and ‘let the authorities take care of the situation'. He knows he has seen something amiss, and films the action, putting himself at great risk.

The unique format of the film which constantly sets the clock back at noon on the same day, gives the moviegoer a different vantage point each time, and serves the purpose of uncovering who the perpetrators are. I found it somewhat annoying as the 90-minute film seemed stuck in a 15 minute time slot, until towards the end when the pieces came together and the complex assassination plot was finally revealed.

I enjoy a film which makes me ask questions during and afterwards. Vantage Point had me constantly asking my daughter, "Who is that guy? Is he bad or good?" during the film, and afterward, "What did they think they were doing, giving more ideas to al Qaeda?" The plot was designed to keep the audience guessing whose side everyone was on until the very last minute, overturning assumptions of who the good guys were at every turn. Certainly the intricate plot is something akin to the long term planning which led up to the 911 attack.  When I awoke the next morning to see a bomb had been tossed at an Armed Forces Recruiting Center in Times Square in Manhattan, the sickening reality of our vulnerability to just such an attack hit home.

One of the best features of Vantage Point was the contrast between the innocence of a young attendee of the gathering in Salamanca. Anna, a sweet little Spanish girl reappears throughout the film at crucial moments in sharp contrast to the ruthlessness of the terrorists. In the midst of a terrorist bloodbath, Anna served as a symbol of the value of innocent human life.  She is protected by Howard Lewis, who met her in the film's beginning, and is part of his reason to reach out and get involved in the crisis.

Warp speed car chases, a tense, ever-morphing plot, moderate violence, disturbing images, and strong language earned the PG-13 rating and make this film acceptable for older adolescents and up. There is no sexual content and the presence of two men of valor make this morally sound entertainment. The men will love this one!


Mother to three daughters and a Literature instructor, Leticia has always loved writing, good literature, and classic films. She became a blogger in 2006, and began to include film reviews on her blogs, Causa Nostrae Laetitiae, and Cause of Our Joy Suddenly Leticia was thrust into the world of film criticism when Eric Sheske of the National Catholic Register mentioned her blog as a source for Catholic film reviews. The next day, an invitation arrived to attend a film premiere in Hollywood, which she accepted, and a film critic was born. Leticia began Catholic Media Review to guide parents in their decisions on whether to let their children see a particular film. She also promotes independent family films like “Bella”, and “Fireproof” so that they can reach a larger audience. Her goal is nothing less than a transformation of the culture to what Pope John Paul II called a “Culture of Life”. She realizes that the pivotal role the media has to play in this transformation, and is determined that those who would defame Christ’s message do not have the last word. She writes film and book reviews for the following publications: MercatorNet, Catholic Exchange, Catholic Online, and “National Catholic Register”. Her reviews have been posted at the websites of Reuters, IMBD, USA Today, Chicago Sun-Times, and various TV news stations.

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