Home > previews > Kudos to the Trailer:Vantage Point

Kudos to the Trailer:Vantage Point

December 9th, 2007 | Jonathan Gray

I’ve now seen this trailer several times, and am a massive fan of it. I don’t know if ultimately I’ll like the film (the evil Arab bad guys motif is often recipe for stereotypes and lazy writing, and the scrolling Manichean pairings of “life-death,” “truth-lies,” “good-evil” in the trailer leave me concerned whether the script will be equally divided into tidy binaries), but the trailer‘s editing, look, concept, and cast all really jump out at me.

From the beginning, it’s a brilliantly edited trailer, with scene or image changes following the audio quite neatly, with captivating then breathless pacing, and with a nice balance of intrigue and action. It’s good on the small screen, but on a big screen it’s masterful: each of the four times I’ve seen it in a cinema now, it’s easily won the trailer sweepstakes for me.

It also seems to give surprisingly little of the plot away — yes, the president is shot, some Arab bad guys seem behind it, we learn the president was a decoy, and the real president seems to be in subsequent danger, but Dennis Quaid’s “something else is going to happen” seems the mantra for the trailer (much as Charlie’s “guys, where are we?” was a mantra for the equally intriguing Lost trailers in 2004). These days, it seems quite a skill to advertise a thriller — I don’t tend to watch many, not because I don’t like them, but because most are (or at least appear to be) ruined by the trailers. Trailers need to capture the tone of a film, and thrillers seem too much for many editors to handle — how do they show narrative intrigue and plot twists without spoiling the film left, right, and center? Advertising a comedy or an action film, by contrast, are so much easier — you just need to show a really funny joke or a fight sequence respectively. Jokes can be funny the second time, fight sequences too (especially if they involve free jumping. I love free jumping), but spoil the plot twist and you can’t go back on that. This trailer here, though, handles the issue with skill.

And, segueing off my previous post on casting, the combination of William Hurt, Matthew Fox (complete with good Jack-faces aplenty), Sigourney Weaver, Forest Whitaker, and Dennis Quaid is intriguing in and of itself. It’s Smoke meets Lost meets Alien meets Ghost Dog: Way of the Samurai meets, um, errr, Jaws 3D. Sounded good till the end there, didn’t it.

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  1. December 20th, 2007 at 12:41 | #1

    Great trailer – I especially like the scene when Matthew Fox makes a classic Jackface

  2. January 6th, 2008 at 11:19 | #2

    I really wanted to see this movie when I first saw the trailer — but that was a long, long time ago now, and even though we’re nearing the film’s release in late February, I’m somewhat anxious about the quality of whatever finally shows up. Any time the distance between first trailer to actual release date stretches out this long, it feels like the film might have been put through the editing wringer enough times to result in a messy jumble of cinematic sausage. Tentpole films get a pass on this, of course, but for what is essentially an arthouse shoot-em-up, I gotta wonder…

  3. Jonathan Gray
    January 6th, 2008 at 16:00 | #3

    Thanks guys. I agree, Geoff — the thing could be a big flop. I like to think that the star power is assurance that it won’t be a turkey, but maybe it could be another form of movie poultry. But the trailer really is exciting. To the point that whereas I often eagerly anticipate a second trailer for some films, I’m quite happy to keep seeing this one here :-)

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