March 03, 2008 12:00 PM

Dennis Quaid, Forest Whitaker, Matthew Fox | PG-13 |


On a sunny day in the shadowless Plaza Mayor in Salamanca, Spain, the President of the United States is gunned down just as he steps forward to announce an anti-terror summit. While the security team scrambles to pinpoint the shooter, a bomb goes off nearby—then another goes off, nearer, shattering the stage where POTUS stood. Vantage Point comes with a fractured, multiple-perspective narrative and a rather nutty confidence in its ability to put together the pieces that will explain this awful day. Key players include Dennis Quaid as a Secret Service agent still jittery after taking a prior hit for the big guy and Forest Whitaker, a tourist and camcorder enthusiast who seems to have ambled into this global event as casually as if he had just gotten off a bus at Six Flags. You might think that shootings and bombings, played out over and over from different angles, would sustain interest, but they become noisily monotonous. The movie has some good, sprinting moments toward the end—by then, Quaid has scrunched himself into a small car and is furiously chasing the killers all over town—but most of it feels like Groundhog Day for terrorists.

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