Mitch Albom’s book, The Five People You Meet In Heaven, has given me the perspective that all lives are connected and that every action intertwines and affects one another. This book has also opened my eyes to the fact that one story differs from every person’s point of view. This was exactly the premise worked upon by Vantage Point.
Vantage Point’s primary events take the world’s attention: an anti-terrorism summit in Salamanca, Spain participated by the United States president, Henry Ashton (William Hurt). Before the President gives his speech, he is shot twice by an unseen assassin. After a few moments, two bomb blasts occur, the first of which is somewhere in the distance, while the second goes off in the summit itself! It is in this plot that the characters and other events revolve around. The delivery style is far different from typical terrorist movies. The film presents six points of view (six persons), all happening within 23 minutes before the bomb blast, which gradually reveal the story to the ultimate climax. A single persepective of a certain character is presented, and then rewinded 23 minutes back to present another perspective.
The film immediately takes off with Rex Brooks’ (Sigourney Weaver), a news producer, point of view. She and her team witness President Ashton’s assassination, and two bomb blasts, the second of which is recorded on camera. Afterwhich, everything winds back 23 minutes earlier and starts with another person’s perspective: one of the US Secret Service agents, Thomas Barnes (Dennis Quaid). The third person is Enrique (Eduardo Noreiga), a police officer who was assigned to protect the mayor. From his viewpoint, it becomes clear who the culprit of the second explosion was. We then experience the perspective of Howard Lewis (Forest Whitaker), an American tourist. In his hands is a camcorder which captured the culprit of the second bomb blast. After watching Lewis’ perspective, we are then presented with the perspective of the real President Ashton. Unknown to the movie’s society (and the audience), the assassinated US president was actually a double for the real president. Before the actual events, a death threat to the US president was received and, to protect the president, the Secret Service agents used a double to deliver the speech. As they watched the assassination on television, the first bomb blast goes off, which is actually in the ground floor of the hotel where the president resides. After the blast, an assassin breaks into the president’s suit, killing all the advisers and guards. The president is left alone. With it, the fifth viewpoint ends. The final point of view is that of the terrorists. It turns out that the terrorists knew of the president’s double, which explains the assassin’s appearance in the preseident’s perspective. Somehow, everything that happened in the ceremonial speech was used by the terrorists as a distraction to kidnap the president from the hotel suite. Also in this final perspective is the resolution of the conflict, which I found very engaging, and how every character’s actions affected each other in the end.
When I first saw the movie’s trailer, I was mystified at how it would end–I wanted to know who shot the president and what each person saw. I was eager to see it. And when I did (on a VCD copy), I was caught in the thrill. I imagine it would be an edge-of-the-seat thriller for me, if I saw it on the silverscreen. I applaud the director for the presentation style, which gave out details slowly, thus building up the excitement.
The truth remains that all lives are interconnected. We all affect one another, be it immediately or later in life. This was a hidden theme in the movie. Aside from this, I also realized that all evil plans are doomed to fail.