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Film / Vantage Point

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"This is a wondrous day. Today, we make history."

2008 political action thriller. US President Ashton comes to Salamanca, Spain to give a speech at an anti-terrorist summit in a public plaza when he is suddenly shot. Just as he is pulled away, two bomb explosions go off, throwing more chaos to the mix. The plot advances then through the POVs of different characters, literally rewinding back to before the incident to show the next one's. In the process a number of twists happen, revealing that there is more going on behind than what seems to be at first.

Notable for its All-Star Cast.

In 2020 a TV-series remake of the film was put into production.

This film provides examples of:

  • Acrofatic: Becomes almost ridiculous when you realize that chubby Forest Whitaker has to have run faster than men way more in shape than him and even cars at maximum speed to succeed in saving the little girl at the end.
  • Almost Dead Guy: After his car crashed, Kent lives just long enough to give a Final Speech to Barnes about his motives.
  • Anyone Can Die: Numerous civilians and eventually all terrorists are biting the dust.
  • Artistic License – Geography:
    • Unless the city utilizes some 4-dimensional enlargement technology, there’s no way all the characters would end up in each other’s way so often.
    • At one point, it is said the Secret Service are looking for five people out of six million. The population of Salamanca in 2008 was 160,000.
    • Beirut is described as being in Darfur. Beirut is the capital of Lebanon and Darfur is in Sudan.
  • Big Bad: Suarez.
  • Big Heroic Run: Enrique, Barnes, Howard.
  • Bilingual Bonus: One angry driver screams "THE HELL ARE YOU DOING YOU MORON?!" at Enrique in a hilarious Castilian accent.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The president is safe, the girl is safe, but there's a high death toll due to the bombing and assassination. Also Javier's brother doesn't make it.
  • Black Dude Dies First: Zoe Saldana's character is killed already in the first segment. Also, the two Spanish cops are the only POV characters that are killed.
  • Body Double: A major plot twist, since the "President" who gets shot is really the body double, and some maneuvering has to be done at the end when the real president is rescued, and it helps that he was actually injured and can pass off the public shooting as being something he survived.
  • Bodyguard Betrayal: Kent is revealed to be a Double Agent.
  • Bottomless Magazines: Agent Barnes’ SIG-Sauer P229 has a 12+1 magazine capacity, and yet he manages to shoot at least 23 bullets without reloading even once.
  • Car Chase: The climax of the movie.
  • The Chessmaster: Suarez is always one step ahead.
  • Contrived Coincidence: Taylor might have gotten away with it all...if Barnes just hadn't happened to be watching a TV camera feed with Taylor posing as a tourist while on the phone with Barnes claiming to be chasing a suspect.
  • Creator's Culture Carryover:
    • It's set in Spain, yet the Secret Service are seen seizing cars from the locals, as well as chasing, arresting and shooting them, even cops. Plenty of wars have started over much less.
    • Never mind that it is an international summit, but it is presided over by the city's mayor (with no member of the Spanish national government apparently present), the President of the United States is the absolute star, and the public waves a zillion Spanish flags at him and only Spanish flags, something much more reminiscent of Eagleland (If they want to honor the POTUS and Spanish-American relations, shouldn't they be Spanish and American flags? And what about the other foreign representatives there? Does nobody care about them?). It's painfully evident that the writer had an American president giving a speech in the US in mind and only painted a light "but in Spain" coat over it.
  • Cross-Cultural Kerfluffle: A minor one, but the Spanish and Europeans in general aren't generally so prone to flag-waving as Americans, let alone when the event is a speech by the US president.
  • Crowd Panic: The crowds panic after the assassination attack.
  • Deadline News: The reporter at the start is right at the scene when the president is shot and frantically reports the event and the sound of a distant explosion right before being killed by the bomb in the podium exploding.
  • Diving Save: Forest Whitaker's character saving stunned Anna from the onsliding ambulance.
  • I Have Your Wife: The baddies got Javier to kidnap the president by holding his brother hostage.
  • Idiot Ball:
    • The Secret Service for not moving the President much further away than just the hotel next door to the active assassination scene.
    • Suarez for not using anything more reliable for tranquilising the president.
    • The girl for running away and under the cars.
    • The assassin for continuously being obtuse about his brother’s realistic condition.
  • The Masquerade: The Secret Service knows there is a threat, so they send a double of the president to the summit. When the double is shot down, they immediately think about ordering a retaliation strike against a terrorist camp, but stop when they realize that the US president has to order it and he can't because "he" has been shot down on live TV. At the end of the day, the whole terrorist plot and the kidnapping attempt on the real president is covered... somehow... as the work of "a lone gunman" who has been "arrested".
  • Missing Mission Control: That's how the terrorists ensured the success of their operation.
  • The Mole: One of the president's bodyguards is actually working (inexplicably) for the terrorists.
  • The Mountains of Illinois: Only the air shots were filmed in the real Salamanca, which is located in a flat, dry plain. This causes continuity errors during the chase scene (filmed in Cuernavaca, Mexico) where heavily forested mountains can be seen behind the buildings. And that's ignoring the out of place palm trees and humid-soaked buildings.
  • Our Presidents Are Different: President Target meets President Personable. Also manages to help in his own rescue.
  • Plot Armor: Agent Barnes has got to have one at least for surviving that car crash.
  • Plot Twist: Where to begin. The man shot wasn't the actual President but a stand-in. The terrorists know that and the shooting and bombings are just a distraction to capture the real one. The Secret Service weren't the ones that killed the cop, he was murdered by another local cop that was being blackmailed by the terrorists. Also, one of the Secret Service Agents is a traitor. And the little girl that Forest saves is the one that derails the terrorists plot, no kidding.
  • Police Are Useless: The Spanish police and military seem to be not only completely oblivious to what is going on around them during those twenty minutes, even (or especially) compared to the American Secret Service (case in point - USSS agents chase a terror suspect down the street on their own, shoot at said suspect, and yet there are dozens of oblivious Spanish cops and soldiers running past them into the other direction), but one of them is even seemingly involved with the terrorists as well.
  • "Rashomon"-Style: Abandoned in the third act of the movie.
  • Spanner in the Works: Amazing as it sounds, the entire terrorist plot might well have worked...if not for one little girl popping up at just the right moment.
  • Taking the Bullet: Barnes' backstory of how he saved the president's life.
  • Television Geography: Those who have been to the real Salamanca will notice immediately that it wasn't shot there. Those who have not will suspect something given all the American-brand cars, Mexico City buses and green beetle taxis or the STOP sign near the end that reads "ALTO" (in Spain they read STOP, in English).
  • Terrorist Without A Cause: So, what was their real plan?
  • Trailers Always Spoil: The trailer spoils the president's Body Double twist.
  • Unreliable Narrator: The POV segments sometimes show things that didn't really happen, but the POV character thought had happened.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: The secret service members chasing Enrique are shown catching up to him at the underpass - and apparently shooting him - in Louis' viewpoint of events, but are nowhere to be seen in the climax which takes place entirely in that area and occurs almost immediately after, even though the President is thus found in a very visible accident not minutes later.
  • Wouldn't Hurt a Child: The terrorist plot is derailed because the terrorist can't kill a little girl... after having planted two bombs which probably killed dozens.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Veronica offing the camera man in the ambulance.


Video Example(s):


The President Gets Killed

The reporter at the start is right at the scene when the president is shot and frantically reports the event and the sound of a distant explosion right before being killed by the bomb in the podium exploding.

How well does it match the trope?

4 (6 votes)

Example of:

Main / DeadlineNews

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