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Vantage Point

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    Vili Maunula

    Has anyone yet had the chance to see the new thriller Vantage Point? Numerous reviews have compared it to Rashomon, although not very favourably. It’s currently at 33% at Rotten Tomatoes.

    If you manage to see it, I’d love to hear if it actually has anything to do with Kurosawa other than the multiple point of view narration. Looking at the release dates around the world, I think the first opportunity I will have of seeing it is in mid-March.

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    Vili Maunula

    So, I finally saw Vantage Point today. To answer my own question: no, it has nothing to do with Rashomon other than the basic idea of a multiple point of view narration.

    And the similarities even there are only very superficial. We are served narration of the same event through — not from — a number of different individuals who all witnessed a part of what happened. These individual vantage points one after another build our understanding of the situation, rather than confusing or complicating it (apart from a few cheap tricks that the film makers employ to raise our interest).

    Ultimately, Vantage Point doesn’t even stick to its multiple point of view narration. While we are served various “vantage points” for the first two thirds of the movie, the last half an hour throws the whole concept out of the window, and returns to your normal action film narrative. As the end credits roll you find yourself wondering why they even used the whole multiple point-of-view technique to begin with.

    To be honest, I think that the whole business with Rashomon comparisons was a marketing ploy.

    All this would, of course, be totally irrelevant if the rest of the film was good. But Vantage Point isn’t, or at least in my case it totally failed to make me care about the characters or the events unfolding on the screen. Similarly, however hard the film tried stylistically to be a Jason Bourne movie, it wasn’t.

    So, the narrative technique didn’t work, the action wasn’t good, the story was totally pointless, and while the actors did their job fairly well the story’s failure to back them meant that none of them seemed alive. You should be able to do better with a cast that includes Dennis Quaid, Matthew Fox, Forest Whitaker, Sigourney Weaver, Édgar Ramírez and William Hurt.

    All in all, I found Vantage Point quite a poor film indeed. If you were still planning to see this for the Rashomon connection, I would suggest that you don’t. And as I can’t really think of any other reason to watch it (other than perhaps learning from others’ mistakes), I think you would do well to simply watch something else.

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    Jeremy

    You almost sound surprised Vili, I dont have give much hope to films that try to be like the old films I love.

    If comes to DVD July 1st in the states, I’ll rent it for a $1 at these kick ass RedBox things we have here, I figured it not worth more then that, so I never attempt to see it on theaters.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Redbox

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    Vili Maunula

    You almost sound surprised Vili, I dont have give much hope to films that try to be like the old films I love.

    I actually was a bit surprised. Mainly because of the mess they managed to make of the whole narrative technique of multiple points of view, on which the whole movie was clearly built around. But perhaps I should have known better.

    But I can’t help thinking what a wasted opportunity this was for the film makers. They really ought to have done better with that cast, and with the potential that the story might have had in terms of its relevance to what is going on in the world (I don’t think I spoil too much if I say that the film involves an assassination of a US president by a terrorist organization).

    But all they could turn in was a bunch of card board characters moving in a cardboard world built on card board ideals and card board ethics.

    Hmh. Maybe I’m actually angry, rather than surprised. 😛

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    Jeremy

    Watched it today on DVD-it sucks, sucks like when the I got a flat tyre and showed up late for big ass steak night at the local steak house, and all they had left was chicken.

    I turned off about 1hr into the movie, as I found it boring, and I hated every character in the movie. I was hoping for godzilla to show up and fire bomb everybody, that way everyone’s view point would be the same giant fire ball melting their face. After the 3rd rewind(they do a rewind thing, before shifting to another view point), I figured godzilla would be a no show, so I cleaned the house instead.

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    Vili Maunula

    I turned off about 1hr into the movie, as I found it boring, and I hated every character in the movie. I was hoping for godzilla to show up and fire bomb everybody, that way everyone’s view point would be the same giant fire ball melting their face.

    Maybe that’s in the director’s cut?

    I once envisaged a film that would start to tell us your normal story about this and that, but where at one hour point the screen would all of a sudden go totally black, followed by a text informing us that a black hole just ate up the universe. I never figured out how to use this ending, but perhaps Vantage Point could indeed have benefited from it.

    Although, now that I think of it, my point I think with the black hole would have been that the human story ultimately doesn’t matter on a cosmic scale. Yet, Vantage Point actually seems to be able to put that notion across even without clumsily introducing a black hole. So, kudos for them!

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