A review of “Vantage Point” by Jeanne Aufmuth

 

Stars: *** 1/2

Rating: PG-13 for language, gunplay and violence

Run Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

 

 

Smart escapist thrillers are a dying breed, each of the current crop more contrived than the last. Thankfully “Point” is one of the good ones.

Salamanca, Spain, present day. Throngs have gathered in the town square for a high-powered summit engineered to put a stranglehold on international terrorism.

Salamanca’s mayor eagerly addresses the crowd and proudly introduces the President of the United States (William Hurt as President Ashton). As Ashton steps to the podium and acknowledges the cheers shots ring out and the Commander in Chief goes down.

That swift and tragic act sets an uber-taut narrative in motion. A series of bombs explode in the square and the masses rupture in panic, control turning to chaos.

The action unfolds in crisp, staccato fashion; its brazen dramatics methodically rewound and begun again and again, each from its own separate vantage point.

Those points of view swing wildly from the personal to the political, from the GNN producer (Sigourney Weaver) who’s broadcasting the summit and the washed-up Secret Service agent (Dennis Quaid) who may have uncovered an agency sub-plot, to the tourist cum amateur videographer (Forest Whitaker) in the wrong place at the wrong time and all the President’s men who believe the incident may be retaliation for blowing the lid off a dirty bomb scheme out of Morocco.

As the ticking clock repeatedly turns itself back to noon, replays bring the plot’s shadowy playbook into sharp focus. Pieces of the puzzle click into place, matching good vs. evil with full-rush adrenaline until the last frame.

Juicy rogue agents, romantic betrayals and covert operations are present and accounted for yet roughly kept in linear check. Body count is high and the message on terrorism dire: will it never end?