Sunday, March 9, 2008
Forgive me for making this a short review, but if I say too much about this movie I might spoil the plot and you wouldn’t want that, now would you?
Thomas Barnes and Kent Taylor are two Secret Service agents assigned to protect President Ashton at a landmark summit on the global war on terror. Agent Barnes is recovering since he took a bullet for President Ashton six-months earlier and they make it clear that we don’t know if he is up to the challenge of protecting the President. The setting is the teeming Plaza Mayor, or central square, in Salamanca, Spain where crowds and dignitaries have gathered for the event. The time is high noon. President Ashton arrives at the plaza and is escorted to the stage by the Secret Service. After an opening address by the Mayor of the City, the President is shot twice. Chaos and panic ensue and escalates when bombs begin to explode outside and then inside the plaza. This is all seen from Barnes point of view.
Then a curious thing happens. The story rewinds about 15 minutes or so and the same story is told from a different person’s “vantage point”. This happens 5 times during the film, each time you are given more clues to what has happened and you can correct your wrong guesses from the previous perspective. The final segment provides you with the entire truth and the completion of the story.
This is not a new technique for movies. The most famous, and by far the best use of this method was Akira Kurosawa’s Rashômon (1950), a great film.
The film has a good cast, but I found Forest Witaker a bit out of place in the film and most of the time when I saw Dennis Quaid, he reminded me of Harrison Ford when he played those same kind of roles in the Tom Clancey stories and the like … that same scowl. But, maybe that’s what people on government payrolls are supposed to look like.
Although a lot of movies “critics” haven’t had too much good to say about this movie, I’ll remind you of my philosophy of what a good movie is. A good movie to me is one that either entertains you, makes you think or stretches your imagination. This movie is one that makes you think … you try to put the pieces together as to who done the dirty deed, then why and how are the “good guys” going to stop them. Sure this movie has it's problems and is far from perfect. But, it kept me thinking and trying to guess the plot until the end. Some parts I figured out ahead of time, others surprised me. I’ll give this an 8 out of 10 on my humble movie rating scale.