Thursday, March 20, 2008

Vantage Point

A crime occurs, and over the course of the next hour, we witness the crime from about eight different points of view. Each person’s view opening new doors and discoveries into the mystery. By the end, we have come full circle on the crime, uncovering all the clues and hints to form a rational motive.

That was the plot of NBC’s brilliant but short lived show Boomtown which ran for one season in 2002. Boomtown (which critics loved, but audiences never found) was a greatly unique idea, it encompassed network TV originality, it was a black sheep of tired, old sitcoms and outdated crime shows.

Mix Boomtown’s concept with a little bit of 24’s narrative and you get the mess that is Vantage Point. First-time director Pete Travis gets an impressive, Oscar approved cast to fill the seats, but God help him if they can keep you there.

I rolled with it for the first half hour. We get a story, which runs for about ten minutes, then stop, rewind, and view that same story again, from a different perspective. It isn’t that it gets old, it just gets plain ridiculous. You’ll be looking at your watch long before the sixth segment, when the film completely ditches its entire concept and then decides to act as a regular movie, jumping from person to person, narrative to narrative.

Had they stuck with the single-perspective theme throughout the picture, then they may’ve had something. But instead, we’re left with a jumbled, convenient, unbelievable muddle that I can’t even begin to explain. For those that care: the President (William Hurt) is giving some speech in Spain about anti-terrorism efforts, when he is gunned down by an unknown assassin. A bomb goes off far away, and then the stage where the President was talking, explodes. Journalists, secret service agents, tourists, the President and the bad guys give us their take on the whole thing.

Save yourself the trouble (and the headache) of sitting down with this. Put Boomtown on your Netflix queue, its time much better spent. D-

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