No advantage in seeing Vantage Point
A movie about protecting the US president loses the plot.
Short review: A silly, but fun action movie lacking any real substance, but still worth watching.
Long Review: When I first saw the trailer for Vantage Point I was thoroughly excited, mainly because I love Secret Service movies. It’s something about the snipers on the roof, the black four-wheel drives and the bullet-proof limos that excites me. I think perhaps the testosterone that God gave me with gives me a love for guns and destroying stuff. I find this a little bit incongruous with my pacifist tendencies, but any movie with a few explosions and some well thought-out action sequences make me happy.
So you can understand my excitement that there was whole movie about the Secret Service coming out.
Vantage Point is about an assassination attempt on the US President (William Hurt) at a terrorism summit in Madrid, Spain. The film tells the story of the 23 minutes before and after the shooting through the eyes of eight different people, a Secret Service agent, the assassins, the president and some of the innocent bystanders.
I found the film started off a little slow, but happily the film managed to progressively steer further and further away from the central events to reveal the twists and turns of the story and the vastness of the conspiracy. As this happens the film gets sillier and sillier and the action more and more ridiculous. But it’s still a lot of fun. Dennis Quaid’s Secret Service agent has a wonderfully fast paced and absurd car chase chasing a police car in a little blue Astra that has to be seen.
How do you approach a movie like this as a Christian? Well, if you get spiritual joy out of guns, explosions and car chases then this is your movie. (Could you use 1 Cor 10:13 as a justification? “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, (e.g. watch stuff blow up) do it all for the glory of God.”) If you’re looking for more substance than that you’ll probably be rather disappointed.
Perhaps the best point to consider is the film’s assumption that the life of the President is worth preserving at all costs. And while this is premise that we regularly accept in our American movies, the question of whether some individuals are more valuable than others is worth thinking about. Of course the President isn’t just a person but represents an office. So how far do we go to protect our high office holders at the expense of the ordinary people? Or do we draw on a different legacy were the highest office holder gives up his life for the sake of the ordinary people? They’re big questions. Certainly not questions that Vantage Point is asking, but if you’re wanting to get some substance out of the popcorn, maybe that’s the way to go.