While "Vantage Point" may have some plot holes and other concerns (a few instances of characters not making the smartest decisions, for example), the thriller moves at such a rapid clip that audience members probably won't stop to explore these issues until after the credits roll. The film, told from several different perspectives in "Rashomon"-style, opens with United States President Ashton (William Hurt) speaking at an anti-terrorism summit in Spain. As a news crew makes its way through crowds of protestors, shots ring out. The producer in the van, Rex Brooks (Sigourney Weaver), tries to get the cameraman to find out what happened, but moments later she hears a distant explosion, followed by one in the colosseum where the speech was taking place.
The movie then rewinds to earlier in the day, as veteran Secret Service Agent Thomas Barnes (Dennis Quaid) and Secret Service Agent Kent Taylor (Matthew Fox) escort the President to the speech and are on the platform when the incident occurs. Also in the crowd is Howard Lewis (Forest Whitaker), who happens to have a camcorder filming when the incident occurs. We also get the viewpoint of local police officer Enrique (Eduardo Noriega), the President and also, those behind it all.
The movie's concept of multiple viewpoints manages to work quite well, as the movie does a fine job revealing progressively more information with every new segment. Surprisingly, the fragmented storytelling also doesn't get in the way of the flow of the film. The movie does offer up some significant twists and while at least one significant one was ruined by the trailer, others work at least fairly well.
Performances are excellent, although given the amount of different characters, some characters seem a slightly-to-mildly underwritten. Highlights in terms of performances include Dennis Quaid as the determined veteran agent and Forest Whitaker as a tourist who finds himself drawn into the situation. Technical credits are excellent, with sleek cinematography and superb editing among the film's positives. The film's stunt work is also worth noting, especially in regards to a very impressive (and very extended) car chase scene towards the end of the movie.
Overall, "Vantage Point" remains one of the more riveting thrillers I've seen in quite some time and director Pete Travis (who has no experience in helming films like this) certainly gets credit for managing a thriller whose urgency and intensity rarely waivers.
VIDEO: "Vantage Point" is presented by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment in 2.35:1 (1080p/AVC). This is an excellent transfer from the studio, as the film's sleek cinematography looks crystal clear throughout the show, with excellent sharpness and definition, as well as strong small object detail.
The presentation looked rock solid throughout the show, with no edge enhancement or artifacting spotted. The print also looked pristine, with no specks, marks or other such faults to be found. The film's rich color palette also looked marvelous, with excellent saturation and no smearing or other faults. Black level remained spot-on at all times, and flesh tones looked accurately presented. This was one of the better high-def presentations of a recent theatrical release I've seen lately.
SOUND: The film is presented on Blu-Ray in Dolby TrueHD 5.1. The film's sound design is an enjoyably aggressive effort, with surrounds kicking into action during the majority of the movie for sound effects (explosions, gunfire, crowds and much more) and reinforcement of the score. Audio quality is terrific, with crisp, clear dialogue and strong, deep bass.
EXTRAS: Director Peter Travis offers an audio commentary for the movie. The discussion is an informative and interesting one, as Travis discusses working on-location, working with a large cast, development, production issues and more. We also get a trio of featurettes: "Vantage Point: An Inside Perspective" (25 minutes), "Plotting An Assassination" (15 minutes) and "Coordinating Chaos: Stunts" (6 minutes). We also get trailers for other titles from the studio, one minor blooper and BD-Live features for those with a capable player.
Final Thoughts: "Vantage Point" offers fine performances and manages to maintain a rapid pace and high level of tension. The Blu-Ray presentation offers excellent audio/video quality, as well as a decent selection of supplemental features. Recommended.
The Film B+