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Pete Travis
Dennis Quaid, Matthew Fox, Forest Whitaker, Sigourney Weaver, William Hurt
Writing Credits:
Barry Levy

The attempted assassination of the American President is told and re-told from several different perspectives.

Box Office:
$40 million.
Opening Weekend
$22,874,936 on 3149 screens.
Domestic Gross

Rated PG-13

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
English Dolby TrueHD 5.1
French Dolby 5.1
Spanish Dolby 5.1
Portuguese Dolby 5.1
Thai Dolby 5.1
Chinese Simplified
Chinese Traditional
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 90 min.
Price: $9.98
Release Date: 7/1/2008

• Audio Commentary with Director Pete Travis
• “Vantage Viewer: GPS Tracker”
• “Surveillance Tapes”
• “An Inside Perspective” Featurette
• “Plotting an Assassination” Featurette
• “Coordinating Chaos” Featurette
• Previews


-LG OLED65C6P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV
-Marantz SR7010 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Surround Receiver
-Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


Vantage Point [Blu-Ray] (2008)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (May 14, 2019)

A modest surprise hit, 2008’s Vantage Point takes us to Spain, where US President Henry Ashton (William Hurt) leads an international summit against terrorism. However, violence mars the event, as someone shoots the President and then a bomb lays waste to the area.

From there the movie leaps back about 23 minutes – repeatedly. It displays the events of that time period from a mix of perspectives.

We see this event through the eyes of Ashton, Secret Service Agent Thomas Barnes (Dennis Quaid), Spanish cop Enrique Contreras (Eduardo Noriega), American tourist Howard Lewis (Forest Whitaker), and others. All of these expose a variety of mysteries and intriguing threads that eventually lead us to the full picture of what occurred.

Those of us in the movie criticism biz just love to throw around terms like “the Rashomon structure”. That’s when the same story is told from different viewpoints, and the film explores the various thoughts. The theme has been done to death over the years, but it continues to provide a potentially fun way to tell a tale.

You only need to see the film’s trailer to know that Vantage Point turns into the 8293rd use of “the Rashomon structure”, so the question becomes whether or not it uses it well.

The answer? Ehhh. The flick manages to keep the viewer’s interest, but it doesn’t do so with any particular style.

I don’t mean that Point becomes a staid, stale movie, as it uses the usual action filmmaking techniques to show some verve. However, since these are the “usual” methods, there’s nothing about the flick to make it stand out from the crowd in terms of visuals. It feels like a conglomeration of all the standard genre conventions melded together without much thought or inventiveness.

The whole “multiple flashback” approach works less well than I’d expect. As presented in ads, this method makes the movie look intriguing, but the end result provides surprisingly unstimulating.

Again, there’s enough to maintain interest, but not with much enthusiasm. As I watched the film, I found myself a little bored, even though the relentless pacing and the persistent attack of twists and revelations should make matters fascinating.

Point relies too much on those twists and revelations. At times, the movie comes across as nothing more than an endless series of those moments, so it fails to deliver much in the way of tight narrative or characterizations. The surprises take the place of real storytelling and tend to grow old before long.

At times I get the impression that the whole Rashomon deal exists as a gimmick meant to embellish an otherwise lackluster plot, but additional consideration shows that not to be the case. With all those funky shifts, Point should turn into something more intriguing than it is, but the problem remains the excessive number of twists.

These would bog down a more straightforward narrative, but the multiple flashback method makes the story moves more distracting and over the top. It feels like a greatest hits reel of revelations packed into one fairly short film.

At least Point boasts a good cast. Indeed, we get two Oscar winners (Whitaker and Hurt) along with a multiple nominee (Sigourney Weaver) and other talents like Quaid.

They don’t get much to do here other than run around and look shocked. This isn’t exactly a character-based flick, so the actors often feel like nothing more than puppets manipulated in the interest of all the story goofiness.

And that leaves Vantage Point as a disappointment. If the film relied on a more concise narrative and stuck with only two or three plot twists, it might become something stimulating.

As it stands, the flick suffers from so many attempts to manipulate the viewer and throw shocks at us that it degenerates into an overwrought mess.

The Disc Grades: Picture B/ Audio B+/ Bonus C+

Vantage Point appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Overall, the movie offered a pleasing presentation.

Sharpness was strong overall. Some minor instances of softness crept into a few interiors, but most of the film presented accurate imagery.

No signs of jagged edges or shimmering occurred, and I saw no edge enhancement. In terms of print flaws, I noticed a couple of small specks but nothing substantial.

Colors tended to mix teal and amber. Within the movie’s stylistic choices, the hues worked fine.

Blacks were generally deep and firm, though they could seem crushed at times. Shadows looked smooth and clear. Though not a killer image, the visuals seemed more than satisfactory.

As for the Dolby TrueHD 5.1 soundtrack of Vantage Point, it also seemed fine for the movie. The soundfield made good use of various effects.

Of course, given the nature of the story, these tended to be the same effects over and over again, so we got many repetitions of the gunfire and the explosion. Nonetheless, these elements opened up the mix well, and the track used music in an active, satisfying manner as well. Throw in a few car chases and the soundscape worked nicely.

Audio quality always seemed solid. Music was full and rich, with clear highs and tight lows.

Effects sounded accurate and dynamic as well, and speech was good. Dialogue came across as natural and concise. All of this was enough for a “B+”.

How did the Blu-ray compare to the DVD version? Audio showed more range and warmth, while visuals appeared tighter and more dynamic. This became a decent upgrade.

The Blu-ray replicates the DVD’s extras, and we open with an audio commentary from director Pete Travis. He provides a running, screen-specific chat that looks at visual choices and camerawork, cast and performances, story issues and editing, sets and locations, effects and audio, and a few other production areas.

From start to finish, Travis provides a bland commentary. While he touches on a mix of useful topics, he also tends to simply narrate the movie.

Even when he engages in material with potential, the track feels slow and flat. We learn a reasonable amount of info, but the commentary never really becomes involving.

A quick clip called Surveillance Tapes lasts a mere 42 seconds. It’s a phony deleted scene that features director Travis himself. It gives us mild amusement at best.

Next we find three featurettes, and An Inside Perspective goes for 26 minutes, 43 seconds as it provides remarks from Travis, executive producer Callum Greene, screenwriter Barry L. Levy, editor Stuart Baird, composer Atli Orvarsson, and actors Matthew Fox, Dennis Quaid, Sigourney Weaver, Edgar Ramirez, Eduardo Noriega, Forest Whitaker, William Hurt, and Ayelet Zurer.

The show covers the story and its path to the screen, what Travis brought to the project, cast, characters and performances, sets and locations, editing, cinematography and story challenges, music, and general thoughts about the project.

With a length of nearly half an hour, I hoped for some decent substance from “Perspective”. While a mix of good details do emerge, overall the program proves less than satisfying. It just comes with too much promotional puffery to be more than an occasionally useful show.

By the way, don’t watch “Perspective” if you’ve not already seen Vantage Point, as it includes quite a few potential spoilers.

Plotting An Assassination runs 15 minutes, 59 seconds and features Travis, Noriega, Ramirez, Quaid, Greene, Levy, Weaver, Fox, Whitaker, and Murer. The piece examines aspects of the script, the story, and the characters.

Levy throws out some interesting notes about inspirations and challenges, but unfortunately, “Plotting” usually comes across as a basic movie recap. We just don’t learn a ton about the flick.

Finally, Coordinating Chaos lasts seven minutes, 27 seconds and includes statements from Travis, Greene, stunt coordinator Spiro Razatos, and producer Neal H. Moritz.

“Chaos” looks at the movie’s stunts and action scenes. It doesn’t go into detail, but it offers a decent overview of these issues.

Exclusive to the Blu-ray, Vantage Viewer: GPS Tracker unlocks a picture-in-picture feature. It uses film footage to show different viewpoints during the movie.

It’s a fun idea but execution seems lacking, mainly because “Viewer” makes it impossible to watch the movie in a satisfactory way. “Viewer” eliminates the main audio when it appears, so it essentially ends up as an alternate version of the film.

Which makes it semi-interesting in its own right, but it’s still not a great way to see the film. “Viewer” includes no exclusive footage and it feels more like a gimmick than anything else.

Previews includes ads for A few ads open DVD One. We get clips for 21, Prom Night, The Other Boleyn Girl, Made of Honor, Across the Universe and Steep No trailer for Vantage Point appears here.

I wanted to like Vantage Point, but the film’s excessive reliance on plot twists and gimmicks renders it impotent. The movie blows its potential and ends up as a barely coherent collection of flashbacks that bores more than it excites. The Blu-ray boasts generally good picture and audio as well as some mediocre extras. I’d like to recommend Point but can’t find enough substance in it to do so.

To rate this film, visit the original review of VANTAGE POINT