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Vantage Point


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Vantage Point (Movies)
Vantage Point (Movies)
Vantage Point (Movies)
Vantage Point (Movies)
Vantage Point (Movies)
Vantage Point (Movies)
Vantage Point (Movies)
Vantage Point (Movies)
Vantage Point (Movies)
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Information about Vantage Point (film)

Vantage Point is a 2008 (13 years ago) American political thriller directed by Pete Travis. The screenplay by Barry L. Levy focuses on an assassination attempt on the President of the United States as seen from eight different points of view.



The movie portrays events taking place within a period of approximately 20 minutes, starting at 11:59:58 on the day US President Henry Ashton is in Salamanca, Spain to promote an international treaty designed to combat global terrorism. Each time the clock rewinds and the episode unfolds from a new Vantage Point, additional details are added, until the complete story of what really occurred is unveiled at the end.

The first perspective is that of GNN TV news producer Rex Brooks, who directs various cameramen and news anchors as the President arrives at a plaza filled with dignitaries, media personnel, and the general public. Brooks notices Secret Service agent Thomas Barnes, who had taken a bullet for the President in an assassination attempt six months earlier, has rejoined the team. The mayor of Salamanca delivers a short speech, then introduces the President, who is shot twice as he greets the crowd from the podium. An explosion outside the plaza soon follows, propelling the crowd from confusion to panic. A few moments later the podium itself is destroyed by another huge explosion. As the smoke clears, GNN reporter Angie Jones is seen lying dead in the rubble.

The clock rewinds, and Secret Service agents Thomas Barnes and Kent Taylor are observing the crowd while the mayor speaks. Barnes notices a curtain fluttering in the window of a nearby building that allegedly was vacated before the President arrived. He also sees American tourist Howard Lewis filming with his video camera. When the President is shot, Barnes tackles a man rushing the podium, who is then dragged off by other agents. He asks Howard, who thinks he may have caught the assassin on tape, to let him see the footage he shot. Taylor pursues the assassin, offering to protect Barnes from blame in case he is wrong about the shooter. After the second explosion, Barnes barges into the GNN production room and asks to see their footage. He calls Taylor, who reports being in hot pursuit of the suspect, and while speaking to him he sees something on GNN's live feed that shocks him and prompts him to run out.

The clock rewinds, and Enrique, a Spanish police officer assigned to protect the mayor of Salamanca, sees his girlfriend Veronica being embraced by a stranger and overhears them speaking about a meeting under a nearby overpass. When he confronts her, she assures him of her love. Enrique hands her the bag she asked him to bring. When the President is shot, Enrique rushes onto the stage to protect the mayor and is tackled by Barnes, and while being detained sees Veronica toss the bag under the podium, which explodes. Enrique escapes, and the agent who had him in custody chases him across the city but fails to capture him. He confronts an unseen individual at the overpass and asks if he is surprised to see him still alive.

The clock rewinds, and while Howard Lewis is chatting with a man named Sam in the plaza, a little girl named Anna bumps into him and drops her ice cream cone. He offers to buy the girl a new one but her mother declines. When he notices Barnes looking at a window across the way, he aims his camera at it, filming it and then the pandemonium that follows when the President is shot. When the podium explodes, Howard picks up Anna, who has become separated from her mother, and places her in the care of a policewoman before chasing Enrique and the pursuing Secret Service agents. At the overpass, Enrique speaks to someone out of Howard's line of sight, then is shot and falls mortally wounded. Howard sees Anna trying to cross a heavily-trafficked, multiple-lane road. As an ambulance bears down on the child, he runs out in an attempt to save her.

The clock rewinds, and President Ashton, having been informed of a credible assassination threat, has returned to his hotel room with his aides while his body double proceeds to the gathering in the plaza. When they witness the shooting on TV, Presidential advisor Phil McCullough's immediate reaction is to coordinate with the Joint Chiefs of Staff and authorize an immediate attack on a terrorist camp in Morocco he claims is linked to the present threat. Ashton refuses, expressing his belief that such an act of retaliation would be the response those who orchestrated the attack anticipated. The previously heard explosion outside the plaza is revealed to be a device strapped to a suicide bomber disguised as a bellhop, who sacrifices himself to the cause by blowing himself up in the hotel's lobby. Seconds later, a masked assailant bursts into the President's room and shoots the guards and advisors, then points his pistol at Ashton.

The clock rewinds, and terrorist leader Suarez, previously seen as Sam, shoots Ashton using a remote-controlled automatic rifle placed in the window that had drawn Barnes' attention. The rifle is retrieved by Secret Service agent Taylor, who Barnes sees leaving the scene wearing a Spanish policeman's uniform on the GNN live feed, even as Taylor is telling him he is in pursuit of the assassin on the phone. Barnes realizes Taylor has "gone rogue" and is part of the plot.

The man Enrique saw embracing Veronica is revealed to be sharpshooter Javier, whose brother is being held hostage to ensure Javier's cooperation with the terrorists. His Special Forces training helps him kill the guards and aides and kidnap the President, whom he takes to the elevator, where Veronica drugs and places him on a gurney. Ashton is placed in an ambulance Suarez is driving, and he, Veronica, and a GNN cameraman working with the terrorists leave the scene. Veronica shoots the cameraman soon after they depart, while Javier joins Taylor in a police car. Barnes commandeers a car and chases Taylor and Javier throughout the city, until his car is T-boned by a truck, allowing Taylor and Javier to get away.

At the overpass, Enrique, who did not die in the blast at the podium as intended, confronts Javier, who shoots him. Javier then is shot by Taylor when he demands he be brought to his brother, who had been killed earlier by Suarez. Barnes fires several rounds at Taylor, wounding him. After crashing his car, Taylor crawls out and dies. Meanwhile, Ashton has regained consciousness in the ambulance and attacks Veronica, distracting her and Suarez just as Anna runs into their path. Suarez swerves and the ambulance flips over just as Howard pulls Anna out of its way. Barnes runs to the ambulance where he sees Veronica lying dead and shoots Suarez and rescues the President.

A GNN anchorman is seen reporting the incident involved a lone gunman who has been killed by police, suggesting the elaborate terrorist plot will not be made public.


  • Dennis Quaid - Thomas Barnes
  • Forest Whitaker - Howard Lewis
  • Matthew Fox - Kent Taylor
  • Sigourney Weaver - Rex Brooks
  • William Hurt - President Ashton
  • Ayelet Zurer - Veronica
  • Eduardo Noriega - Enrique
  • Édgar Ramírez - Javier
  • Saïd Taghmaoui - Suarez
  • Bruce McGill - Phil McCullough
  • Zoe Saldana - Angie Jones
  • Richard T. Jones - Holden
  • James LeGros - Ted Heinkin
  • Holt McCallany - Ron Matthews
  • Leonardo Nam - Kevin Cross


In the original script, Rex Brooks was a male and Howard was an overweight Eastern European. In Plotting an Assassination, a bonus feature on the DVD (Digital Versatile Disc) release of the film, director Pete Travis explains he felt there were so few strong female characters in the movie he decided to cast Sigourney Weaver as the GNN producer. When Forest Whitaker expressed interest in participating in the project, Travis welcomed the chance to work with him by Americanizing Howard.

Originally scheduled for a 2007 (14 years ago) release, the movie began principal photography on Jun. 18, 2006 (15 years ago) in Mexico City. In Plotting an Assassination, Travis discusses the difficulties the cast and crew faced each day as they tried to movie during the height of Mexico's rainy season. He credits cinematographer Amir Mokri and the lighting crew for making it look like the twenty-minute segment portrayed in the movie unfolded under clear and sunny skies when in fact it frequently was overcast and drizzling during filming. In addition to the Mexico City locations, some exteriors were shot in Cuernavaca and Puebla.

In an interview during the Feb. 19, 2008 (13 years ago) edition of Good Morning America, Dennis Quaid cited the Rashomon effect of the film, a reference to the 1950 (71 years ago) Akira Kurosawa movie of that name in which events are recounted from several perspectives. Unlike Rashomon's emotionally-charged points of view, Vantage Point deals only with their physical convergence.

The movie had its world premiere in Salamanca on Feb. 13, 2008 (13 years ago). The following day it premiered in Russia, then in the Philippines and New York City on Feb. 20. It went into general theatrical release in Hong Kong and Qatar on Feb. 20 and in the US, Canada, and multiple foreign markets on Feb. 22.


DVD release

A two-disc Special Edition DVD (Digital Versatile Disc) was released by Sony pictures (wallpaper) Home Entertainment on Jul. 1, 2008 (13 years ago). Viewers have the option of seeing the movie in either anamorphic widescreen or fullscreen formats. It has audio tracks and subtitles in English, Spanish, and French. Bonus features include commentary by director Pete Travis; Plotting an Assassination, Coordinating Chaos, and An Inside Perspective, all of which include interviews with cast and crew members; and a digital copy of the movie that could be downloaded to a personal computer with DVD/ROM, Windows XP (19 walls) or Windows Vista, Internet Explorer 6 or later, and a hard drive with at least one GB of free space, or a PlayStation. The digital copy had to have been downloaded by Jul. 1, 2009 (12 years ago).


As of Feb. 2, 2009 (12 years ago), review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reported the movie had an average rating of 5/10, with 35% of critics giving it positive reviews, based on 150 reviews, while Metacritic reported it had an average score of 40 out of 100, based on 32 reviews.

Manohla Dargis of The New York Times called the movie " a gimmick in search of a point" and added, "This is competent if completely impersonal filmmaking of a familiar type that finds the usual allotment of famous, or at least famous enough, actors... arranged in various configurations in assorted spaces and delivering instantly forgettable dialogue... Here we get so many versions and viewpoints that a preview audience started to complain audibly each time the clock was reset, though this probably had less to do with the fractured storytelling than its lack of brilliance."

Mick LaSalle of the San Francisco Chronicle said the movie "has a fractured and frustrating narrative" and observed, "There should be a reason for filmmakers to tell a story in this way, and for a while the temptation is to look for one. For example, if all the recollections contradicted each other, then the movie could be a commentary on the faultiness of memory, particularly in recollecting moments of crisis... In the case of Vantage Point, the basic facts are never in dispute, but even then there's a willingness on the part of the viewer, at least for a while, to let director Pete Travis and writer Barry Levy have their fun. The expectation is that surely the movie's plot is a fantastic and intricate construction best revealed in this strange and splintered way. But no. Not really. When everything is finally revealed, the story... is fairly pedestrian, and nothing special is gained from all the stopping and restarting. The title is the tip-off. Aside from the changing-perspectives device, Vantage Point has nothing going on. There's no artistic, philosophical or even jolly entertainment reason for adopting this strategy. It's just arbitrary, a gimmick."

Rex Reed of the New York Observer called the movie "a nonstop thrill ride with no emergency cord to allow you to slow down or get off. You just hold your breath and hope you don’t get injured. It’s got a perfect cast at full tilt, breathtaking action cinematography that keeps your pace pulsing and your heart pounding, and so many plot twists you won’t even think about a potty break. This movie is never boring, which is saying a lot. Now, the bad news: Vantage Point keeps you guessing without ever telling you why."

Richard Corliss of Time observed, "By this fourth or fifth rerun of the events, we have determined that Vantage Point has ambitions no higher than making the audience's collective pulse race as fast as the car Quaid will be maneuvering breathlessly through rush-hour traffic. The movie is best seen as straightforward, sometimes harrowing melodrama, packed with mistaken identities, beautiful villains, a kindly tourist who can outrace the bad guys, and a lost little girl whom the movie brazenly sends onto a highway full of speeding cars."

Peter Travers of Rolling Stone said, "For about half an hour, before the movie crashes and burns in a bonfire of exaggeration and stupidity overkill, Vantage Point shapes up as a nifty ride." He thought the movie makes "so many impossible demands on us to suspend disbelief that the audience should demand combat pay. By the end, Vantage Point is such a unholy mess of drooling sentiment and sloppy loose ends that you’ll hate yourself for being suckered in."

Justin Chang of Variety wondered, "Can an implausible setpiece offer up fresh thrills and insights if replayed ad infinitum from different perspectives? Not according to Vantage Point, a 23-minute movie dragged out, via some narrative gimmickry, to a punishing hour and a half. Circling endlessly around a political assassination attempt and its violently contrived aftermath, the movie proves every bit as crude, nerve-grinding and finally unsalvageable as the car accidents it keeps inflicting on its characters... At once timid and opportunistic, Vantage Point freely milks anxiety from both 9/11 and the 2004 (17 years ago) Madrid train bombings, but otherwise stays safe and apolitical throughout."

Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian rated the movie three out of five stars and commented, "There is a bit of a Groundhog Day feel before the surprises kick in, but this is serviceable entertainment, and how refreshing to see a commercial movie that tries something structurally and procedurally different."

Philip French of The Observer said the "expertly directed" movie "grabbed me by the lapels throughout while packing an astonishing amount into its 90 minutes."

Awards received

The movie won the Golden Trailer Award for Best Thriller.


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