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Saturday, December 11, 2010

‘The Tourist’ should have had its Passport Revoked


The Tourist = 1 ½ out of 5
Frank Tupelo: You're ravenous.
Elise Ward: Do you mean 'ravishing'?
Frank Tupelo: I do
To reference a review I wrote a few weeks ago, this movie has nice shoes.  It is nice to look at, but to be fair, is it really that hard, these days, with a large budget, to not be able to make a movie set in Venice look that good?  Regardless of the answer to that question, it is apparently hard to make a movie set in Venice that features two of the world’s biggest stars, is directed by a talented filmmaker, and written by a couple of Oscar winners any good.  The Tourist is kind of a disaster.  It lacks any kind of momentum, suspense, or entertainment (save for some random quips by an ill-equipped ((or just bored)) Johnny Depp).  This film put me to the point of wanting to rather watch a movie about Paul Bettany’s character dealing with the boring bureaucracy of his job.  But how do I really feel?

The Borist begins with Angelina Jolie looking amazing as she walks to a café in Paris.  She is being watched by agents under the command of Inspector John Acheson (Bettany), who works for Scotland Yard.  After receiving a letter from the man everyone is looking for, despite not knowing what he looks like, Elise gives all of the agents the slip and sits down on a train to Venice.  Elise was given instructions to befriend a random, ordinary person, in order to mislead the agents, so she of course sits next to the personification of random and ordinary – Johnny Depp (right?), who is sporting some of the worst hair since Tom Hanks in The Da Vinci Code.  Depp plays Frank Tupelo, a broken hearted American tourist, formerly a math teacher from Wisconsin, who smokes an electronic cigarette (can you see all these normal qualities?).

So blah, blah, blah, Depp is figured for the wrong man, falls in love with Jolie…maybe she has larger motives; bad guys show up and attempt to do bad things for lots of money; lots of romantic comedy entanglements mixed with spy thriller intentions supposedly ensue.  And Timothy Dalton costars. Kiss; credits.  I did not spoil a thing.  There are lots of good ways to make this story work.  Hitchcock and Cary Grant, let alone the original film that this is a remake of, Anthony Zimmer, certainly knew how.  The Tourist does not.



I certainly did not go into this film wanting to hate it; in fact, I do not hate it, it just isn’t a good movie and I do not want to see it ever again.  I wanted to go in, despite the negative buzz surrounding it, and manage to derive some pleasure out of at least seeing these two leads together.  Little did I know this would in fact be the film’s biggest problem.  There is no spark of energy between Jolie and Depp.  Nothing about their relationship seemed to match.  Depp is a complete fish out of water in this role, as he cannot seem to convey anything normal about his character who is supposed to be normal.  He plays sad and mumbled well enough, but it is not something that belongs in this movie.  A story like this should play much more with witty banter, as opposed to Depp’s social awkwardness grading on Jolie’s aloofness and beauty.

Continuing to bother me is the fact that this film was directed by Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, who won an Oscar for directing another spy movie, The Lives of Others, which hits all the right beats.  The film was adapted by the original film’s screenwriter, and Christopher McQuarrie (The Usual Suspects), and Julian Fellowes (Gosford Park).  I honestly do not know what could have happened.  Aside from some lines by Bettany’s character and Depp’s insistence on using Spanish throughout Italy, the film is rarely clever or funny, let alone lacking in suspense.

I have got nothing else.  This movie is not good.  I did not like it and I don’t recommend it.  See Black Swan, see The Fighter, and don’t see this movie.
Elise Ward: I'm sorry I got you involved in all this.
Frank Tupelo: Why are you involved?
 

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