Salamanca, Spain, and crowds jostle in the main square as secret service agents usher in the US President (William Hurt) to make an address before an international conference negotiates a new accord on the war on terror. As a TV news director (Sigourney Weaver) marshals her cameras, a shot rings out and the leader of the free world crumples to the ground. What just happened? Let’s rewind… before you can say ‘Rashomon’ we’re seeing the same events from another perspective (the Presidential POV), then another (veteran bodyguard Dennis Quaid), and even, eventually, from the vantage point of the perpetrators. Sounds fascinatingly ambiguous, no?
Well, it might have been if the film had been made 35 years ago, but one simple truth emerges: murderous Arab extremists won’t escape US intelligence forces, not even in a high-speed car-chase down narrow side-streets lined with café tables.
Although mounted with no little efficiency by director Pete Travis (who previously made the TV drama-doc ‘Omagh’), the narrative enterprise actually hides a one-dimensional world view, with civilian casualties mere background set dressing. Crass indeed.