You have to give the makers of Vantage Point credit for one thing: what the movie lacks in plausibility, it makes up for with raw enthusiasm. They think their movie is awesome — well, actually, they probably know it’s not awesome, since they’ve put off releasing it for over a year — but they sure do pull out all the stops to deliver a bullet-riddled, car chase-happy whodunit, Rashomon-style. How much you enjoy it depends on how much you like watching the same scene five times in a row. Much like last year’s flashback extravaganza, Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead, each flashback reveals new information, but there is little suspense attached to any of it. Thank God we didn’t have to suffer through Philip Seymour Hoffman’s bare ass a second time.
The movie, set in Spain, covers the events surrounding US President Ashton (William Hurt) signing a historic peace accord between the United States and Islamic countries. Our point of view is the production truck of an American cable news channel, with the no-nonsense Rex Brooks (Sigourney Weaver) directing traffic and managing the ego of her on-location correspondent. Rex is surprised to see Secret Service agent Thomas Barnes (Dennis Quaid) on detail, as he has lain low in the year since he literally took a bullet for Ashton. Ashton steps up to the podium after being introduced by the Spanish mayor, and is immediately shot twice in the chest. Rex tries to make sense of the chaos as Secret Service ushers the President into an ambulance, but soon loses complete control when the podium the President was standing on is blown sky high.