Vantage Point

Movie review by
Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media
Vantage Point Movie Poster Image
Disappointing action flick centers on terrorism.
  • PG-13
  • 2008
  • 90 minutes

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 11 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 25 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive messages

Secret Service agents act courageously in the aftermath of a terrorist attack abroad. An American tourist bravely puts his life in danger to save a young girl. Although most of the movie's terrorists are Muslims from the Middle East, there are American ones, too.

Violence

The U.S. president is shot at during a speech. Crowds of people die in an explosion set off by a terrorist; a suicide bomber detonates himself in the lobby of a hotel; terrorists kill several people execution-style and kidnap the president. A Cabinet member tries to force the president to bomb Morocco for harboring terrorists.

Sex

A woman seems to be in a romantic embrace, but she's actually being handled roughly. She then kisses and hugs another man.

Language

Language includes `s--t,` `ass,` `bitch,` and `bulls--t.`

Consumerism

Nothing overt, except for an obvious CNN-like news channel called `GNN.`

Drinking, drugs & smoking

The president is sedated so he can be kidnapped.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that some teens may be drawn to this political action adventure by its all-star cast of popular/award-wining actors (including Matthew Fox of Lost, Dennis Quaid, Sigourney Weaver, and Forest Whitaker). The film revolves around a terrorist attack on the U.S. president and features scenes of explosions killing a crowd of people, a suicide bomber detonating in a posh hotel's lobby, high-ranking officials being shot at execution-style, and other bloody deaths. Language includes words like "s--t" and "bitch"; it's worth noting that there's markedly less commercialism and drug/alcohol use than in comparable films.

User Reviews

Adult Written bymadony12 April 9, 2008

ridiculous!

It shows you the vantage point of all the different actor, but it just dragged on. You discovered new things with the point of view, some important to the story... Continue reading
Adult Written byoiv25409 April 20, 2009

Think twice before letting your young kids watch this movie

Although I think this movie is okay, it's still definately not appropriate for kids under 13. It has excessive violence as well as strong language that you... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old October 16, 2013

Repetitive Language

Highly good film to watch! It's a great thriller and drama masterpiece that will keep you on the edge your seat for the entire movie! Vantage point contai... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old June 11, 2009

Boring for Younger Kids…

This is a great movie. It might not be too interesting for younger kids though. It has some pretty intense violence.

What's the story?

Dennis Quaid leads an all-star ensemble in Irish filmmaker Pete Travis' feature debut, VANTAGE POINT. At a global political summit on terror and peace in Spain, a group of Spanish, American, and Moroccan people collide as the president of the United States (William Hurt) becomes the target of an elaborately planned terrorist attack. The film focuses on one person's point of view at a time -- Quaid's veteran Secret Service Agent Thomas Barnes, for example -- and, after 20 minutes or so, "rewinds" and recreates the same event from another character's perspective. Audiences see the events through the eyes of an American tourist (Forest Whitaker), a Spanish-Muslim assassin (Edgar Ramirez), a news-network producer (Sigourney Weaver), etc., until all the loose ends are neatly tied up in the final act.

Is it any good?

What begins as a promising action thriller with the gripping real-time suspense of 24 and the fast-editing style of the last two Bourne films starts turning into an odd Groundhog Day gimmick. After a while, viewers will probably start laughing at the concept. Instead of changing the perspective seamlessly, Travis shows the scenes rewinding (ala a DVR being used to return to the beginning of an important sequence) over and over again. By the time Whitaker's tourist begins running around Salamanca like a deputized Secret Service Agent, the movie is officially annoying. But at least Whitaker's Spanish -- as a tourist! -- is better than Matthew Fox's and Israeli actress Ayelet Zurer's, both of whom are supposedly fluent or native speakers.

Travis is obviously a fan (and friend) of filmmaker Paul Greengrass, who wrote and produced a TV movie that Travis directed in 2006. But where Greengrass' documentary approach in movies like Bloody Sunday draws viewers into the action, Travis' attempt alienates audiences, who will tire of seeing the same 25 minutes and want to hit an invisible fast-forward button to get to the film's outcome.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how the movie portrays the United States, the president, and terrorists. Are there parallels to modern U.S. politics? How so? Is it common in recent films for the American government and its leaders to be shown negatively -- especially in films that take place abroad? Why or why not? What message do you think the movie is trying to send?

Movie details

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