Monday, January 10, 2011

THE TOURIST - Like Being Taken For A Ride

THE TOURIST (romantic thriller)
Cast: Johnny Depp, Angelina Jolie, Paul Bettany, Rufus Sewell, Timothy Dalton, Ralf Moeller, Raoul Bova, Steven Berkoff, Clément Sibony and Igor Jijikine
Director: Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck
Screenplay: Christopher McQuarrie and Julian Fellowes, based on the movie Anthony Zimmer by Jerome Salle
Time: 103 mins
Rating: * * 1/2 (out of 4)

Depp and Jolie on a fast boat in Venice

PREAMBLE: With A-Jolie and J-Depp headlining this romantic/crime thriller, I had expected a taut
Hitchcock-type mystery that we can sink our intellectual teeth into. Or at least a plot with a "wow, why didn't I see that" twist at the ending. After all, The Tourist has in its supporting cast such well-known names like Paul Bettany, Timothy Dalton, Rufus Sewell and veteran 'villain' Steven Berkoff.

The feeling I get from this one is that I had been taken for a ride. A meaningless, silly ride.

WHAT'S IT ABOUT: Jolie plays Elise, girlfriend of international fugitive Alexander Pearce, who is wanted for stealing over 700 million bucks. After getting a note from a messenger in Paris, she picks up tourist Frank Tupelo (Depp) on a train from France to Venice. The plan is to persuade the police that Frank is Pearce with a new face, but he attracts the attention of two Scotland Yard inspectors (Bettany and Dalton) also becomes a target for a murderous gangster (Berkoff).

HITS & MISSES: Expectedly, Jolie exudes the glamour and sizzling sexuality required of her role as femme fatale. Depp may not fit the Cary Grant-type role that well but I don't think any woman in the audience would complain. After all, he does a great job jumping and running on the rooftops of buildings in scenic Venice in his pyjamas - and even helps to promote electronic cigarettes.

The supporting cast are credible enough, the location shots of Venice look great and the few action pieces (like the canal boat chase) are thrilling enough. What is wrong with the movie, however, becomes clear just about halfway into the plot. We can predict the way the so-called 'mystery' is taking us and it is disappointing and preposterous. There are times when we expect James Bond to show up to liven things up... well, anyone or anything to take us way from this 'aw shucks' ending.

THE LOWDOWN: Glammy but disappointing.


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