Vantage Point (2008)
After starting off as a seemingly authentic political drama-thriller, Pete Travis' Vantage Point develops into a slick and fairly enjoyable, but largely stupid action film. The direction ranges from masterful to remarkably shoddy; the former represented by the brilliantly realistic visualization of the events at the Salamanca peace summit, the latter by some inconsiderate, poorly explained and overly patriotic plotting.
Some viewers might also find that the film has a strenuous form, as it presents its narrative through an identical timeline several times from different perspectives, but experienced viewers will be more likely to find this refreshing. Not only are we reminded that there always are several sides to every story, but this narrative build-up also functions as an effective foundation from which to build tension and suspense and unfold the mystery.
Unfortunately, the mystery doesn't quite hold up from a political or dramatic point of view. Somewhere along the line, a realistic and potentially imminent scenario develops into something Hal Needham once could have done - minus the humour. Humour which Dennis Quaid's sadly one-note and stiff performance definitely could have needed. William Hurt, on the other hand, finds the right tone for his character, and presents one of the best and most fun presidents on screen in a while, but that doesn't mean the filmmakers exhibit the same balance. The fact that the Arabs in the film make a point about the arrogant Americans who always think they're one step ahead, before the film then presents itself in the same conceited way on behalf of the USA, becomes a vapid paradox.