The movie starts off with a newsgroup named GNN with Rex (Signourey Weaver) and Angie (Zoe Saldana) taping a Presidential appearance in Spain. Angie is giving her interview when all the sudden the President (William Hurt) gets shot. Angie is crying hysterically but she must continue taping. While she's giving her interview a bomb goes off about a mile away or so. Everyone in the crowd starts running, but Angie continues to read the story. The camera pans out and a giant explosion erupts in the middle of the crowd, smoke covers the entire cameras site. But finally Rex sees Angie's camera but Angie is dead. With a face of devastation on Rex the movie stops and rewinds saying "23 minutes earlier." The time is 11:59.
We now are in the Vantage Point of Thomas (Dennis Quaid) who’s in a nearby hotel in Spain. While putting his security uniform on because he's the President’s bodyguard, his partner Kent (Matthew Fox) tells him it's time. They both go to the underground parking structure and they head to the town square where the President will speak. Thomas is paranoid when he sees someone reach in his pocket so he grabs him and it ends up being a camera. Both bodyguards and the President are now on the stage where the podium is. Thomas surveys the surrounding area and notices Howard (Forest Whitaker) taping the event. But, he also notices a curtain fluttering in a window, which is in a building opposite of him. He calls other officers and they check the area. Nothing's there. Now the President approaches the podium and Thomas sees a bang in one of the windows--the President is now shot. A man named Enrique (Eduardo Noriegea) runs on the stage and Thomas tackles him suspecting him of shooting the President. He then gives Enrique to the other officer and runs to Howard and asks to see his video camera. They rewind a bit and Thomas eyes get really wide, then he yells "bomb" and it explodes. After the smoke subdues, Thomas painfully gets up and recognizes one of the cameramen for GNN. He then runs to the truck where Rex is supervising, and asks to see anything that they taped. While doing so he's talking to Kent who says he's on the pursuit of the shooter. Thomas then stops talking and sees something that was filmed. He tells Rex to rewind then stop. Again his eyes get wide and he says "Oh my god." The whole movie pauses and we rewind to 11:59.
We are in the Vantage Point of Enrique who is going through security at the town square. The metal detector beeps and he reveals his gun and his police badge and he's let through. Once he passes the metal detector he sees his friend Veronica (Ayelet Zurer) talking with a new man Javier (Edgar Ramirez) and all we hear is "meet me at the underpass." Javier leaves and Enrique grabs his girlfriend and asks what she was doing. She says there's nothing to worry about. Then she asks if he brought her bag and Enrique gives it to her. Enrique walks toward the stage and stands right next to it because he's the mayor’s bodyguard. The shots are fired and Enrique sprints on the stage, only to be tackled by Thomas. He is then taken by the other officers and is escorted off the stage. The movie is then put in slow motion and Enrique is staring at Veronica. Veronica takes the bag he gave her and threw it under the stage, presumably it's the bomb. Enrique goes crazy and escapes the guards. He then starts running in and out of streets and is getting chased by the cops. He then sees Veronica in an ambulance and he knows they are headed to the underpass. He arrives at the underpass and says, "surprised to see me." We rewind to 11:59 once again.
We now are in the Vantage Point of Howard. He is walking around the outside of the town square and videotaping all of the beautiful architecture. He then notices Veronica and Enrique touching each other, but we know he was angry at her. Howard just laughs. He continues taping them, until Sam (Said Tagjmaoui) starts talking to him. While they are talking, Howard is bumped into Anna (Alicia Zapien) and she drops her ice cream. He offers to buy a new one but her mother declines. They walk away. The President is close to being at the podium when Howard notices that Thomas is looking at something. He turns his camera to the flutter and a shadow catches his eye. He moves the camera up a little more and a shadow of a man is there and the President gets shot. He starts to run and stops in the middle of the square. Oddly, he calls his wife and leaves a message for her, but is interrupted by Thomas who needs to see his camera. They rewind and like in Thomas's vantage point they stop and they see Veronica throw the bag. He yells bomb and it explodes. The smoke subdues once again and now Howard is in pain. He gets up and sees Anna screaming for her mother and also Enrique getting chased by the cops. He grabs Anna and is videotaping the chase. He quickly drops Anna off by a police officer and continues to follow Enrique. The same chase occurs like before, but in the middle of it we see that Anna has run away from the policewoman. Back to Howard. He continues to follow Enrique until Enrique arrives at the underpass. Howard is a safe distance from Enrique. We then see the police shoot and Enrique is dead, but some odd guy comes up and looks at him. (We find out it's Javier.) Howard then sees Anna in the middle of the street screaming for her mom. Anna then sees her mom and starts to run across the street. She then stops because of the heavy traffic and an ambulance is coming right after her. Howard starts yelling her name and is running toward her. The movie pauses and rewinds back to 11:59.
We now are in the Vantage Point of the President. The President is in the limo heading to the speech when all the sudden the limo stops and goes into the parking lot at a hotel. He then is informed that a double will be used because a threat has been confirmed from Morocco. The President is extremely disappointed and is escorted to a room in the hotel. The President is now watching the T.V. with the double President on it. The double is shot. Now the real President is asked if they can attack the Moroccan village. The only problem is the President's dead so how can he make an order. The hotel suddenly shakes. The President sees that a bomb has gone off at the first floor of the hotel. Everyone is walking around and then an small explosion blasts the door off. A masked man walks in a shoots everyone other than the President. All we see is the fear in the President’s face. The whole movie pauses and we rewind to 11:59.
We now are in the final vantage point, which involves everyone. Anna buys an ice cream cone and Sam is also in the cafe. He starts to phone one of the cameramen and asks if everything is good. The cameraman asks if Sam's sure its a double President. Sam assures him that it is. Now Sam uses his phone to activate a fan inside of the room. This causes the curtain to flutter and Thomas to see it. Sam then uses his phone to control a sniper in one of the rooms and shoots the President. Then he calls Javier to ask if he's headed to the hotel where the President was and he said yes. Javier walks to the front door of the hotel and another accomplice gives him a room key. Javier walks to the room and grabs a gun in the fridge of the room. The other accomplice is on the first floor and is sweating profusely. He gets a text message from Sam saying "make us proud," and he pulls a suicide bomb. Javier makes it too a control room where he kills everyone in it. He then gets the frequency from the hotel and sends it to Sam. Sam then jumps in an ambulance headed toward the hotel with Veronica. He sends a frequency to the guards at the hotel saying they need all help on the first floor. This eliminates some of the guards and Javier kills the rest of them near the President’s room. Finally he puts small explosives on the door and the burst it open. He shoots everyone but the President and grabs him instead. Sam and Veronica have now arrived at the hotel with a stretcher. But, Veronica takes it up the elevator to meet Javier and the President. The door opens and they knock the President unconscious. They lie him on the stretcher and cover him with a blanket. They head back down the elevator and in the ambulance while Javier stays behind. The ambulance takes off.
Now Thomas is in the GNN truck with Rex and is reviewing the tapes. Like before he's talking to Kent who's on the move with the shooter. Thomas then sees Kent on the video camera and he's wearing a police outfit. We now realize that he's part of the shooting. Thomas sprints out and tries to find Kent in the city. He then sees him in the alleyway picking up Javier. A big car chase occurs and Thomas crashes near the underpass. Javier and Kent are now at the underpass and see Enrique. Javier gets out and yells at him because he wants to see his brother. (The shooters kidnapped his brother so he would help, but they killed him earlier in the movie.) Javier is really upset so he shoots Enrique. Enrique is dead.
Thomas arrives at the underpass and shoots Javier once, he's not dead. Then he runs toward Kent who starts driving the car. Javier hangs on the window of the car and says "where is my brother?" Kent says "he's dead," and shoots him. Javier is dead. Thomas then shoots at Kent and finally hits Kent in the chest. Kent swerves and hits a concretes support. Thomas throws him out of the car and asks why he did it. Kent can't respond because he's dead.
We finally flash back to Sam, Veronica and the President in the ambulance. The President somehow gets up and whacks Veronica. Everyone gets in a tussle and Veronica looks ahead of the road and sees Anna. This is the ambulance coming right at her. Everything goes in slow motion and Sam slams on the breaks and turns the car. The car flips on its side and starts to roll right toward Anna. Suddenly, Howard grabs her right before the truck was going to hit her.
Conveniently everyone is at the underpass and Thomas opens the back of the ambulance to see the President. Veronica is dead and Sam is shot at by Thomas and dies. The President is hauled out and the whole police crews come with a helicopter. They take him in the helicopter and it flies away.
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