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I can best describe the dumb and shallow Vantage Point as “empty.” The film has no center other than its concept, which is ripped off from Rashômon, which (according to Orson Welles) was ripped off from “Citizen Kane.” But there’s a difference: Akira Kurosawa is a talented director who can use a familiar concept and make it seem completely original. Pete Travis, the director of Vantage Point, lacks this ability, as the concept feels more like a device than an integral part of the story. The key to the entire film is finding out who is good and who is bad. That’s it.The plot is almost too simple. The President (William Hurt) goes to Spain, and before he has the chance to give a speech, he is shot. This same storyline is re-played four times, so we are supposed see the same scene from four different perspectives.

This is where the movie fails miserably, though. Whereas Kurosawa clearly showed different interpretations of the same event in Rashômon, Travis in Vantage Point merely withholds information until the following segment. The basic story is tiresome the first time it’s repeated. Imagine how I felt by the time the credits were rolling.

As is typical of generic “thrillers,” there is a twist here and there that doesn’t really make a lick of difference. So why should anybody in the audience care about the plot? They shouldn’t. Anyone who sits through the film should only care about finding a way to get a refund.

Rating: 4/10

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