Cast : Dennis Quaid, William Hurt
Direction : Pete Travis
Rating : **
Obviously owing its inspiration to Akira Kurosawa’s Rashomon, as well as Hollywood paranoia thrillers like The Manchurian Candidate (1962), The Parallax View (1974) and In the Line of Fire (1993), this slam-bang actioner describes an assassination attempt on the U S President from as many as eight different perspectives.<b1>
The Prez (Hurt) is shot while attending a summit on terrorism in a small Spanish town. The sequence of events leading up to the shooting is then repeatedly replayed, albeit with slight variations every time, depending on whose point of view is represented. Meanwhile a seasoned secret service agent (Quaid) sets off on the trail of the failed assassins.
The convoluted plot becomes even more confusing when it’s revealed that the President’s body double is involved in the malarkey. Predictably, however, the multiple narrative strands are neatly tied up before the all’s-well-that-wraps-well finale.
Non-stop biff-pow-bang skirmishes and fiery blow-ups are knocked out by first-time director Travis. To be fair, some of the death-defying stunts look breathtakingly real. The car chases, in particular, are stunningly orchestrated.
On the other hand, the characterisations of the President and his adversaries are at best sketchy. Moreover, we wonder what prompted an actress of the calibre of Sigourney Weaver to accept a brief, inconsequential role.]
Plug into Vantage Point only if you’re in the mood for a brain-and-body basher.