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View from the Top Down

View from the Top Down

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At the beginning of Vantage Point—and, due to its nonlinear narrative structure, also at several points throughout it—President William Ashton (William Hurt) is poised to take the podium to announce a landmark anti-terror initiative, the culmination of a global summit in Salamanca, Spain. Here is America rebuilding its image in the world, slowly, one diplomatic gesture at a time. No hints are given in the film as to what this international agreement might consist of, but there is a general tone of progress in the plaza, despite the large, vocal crowd of equally unspecific anti-American protestors. President Ashton’s admirable policies, however, are all for naught. He is shot and killed, and a well-organized group of terrorists follow up the assassination with the detonation of two bombs nearby.

Vantage Point, written by Barry L. Levy and directed by Pete Travis, resets its clock six times, returning each time to noon—same day, same place—offering another person’s perspective of the assassination and subsequent blasts, each time revealing a new dimension of what really happened. I didn’t expect conceptual rigor, but Vantage Point eventually seems to lose interest in its own narrative strategy. Click here to read Benjamin Mercer’s review of Vantage Point.

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