Thursday, May 5, 2011

"The Tourist" May Trap Jolie and Depp Fans

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 37 (of 2011) by Leroy Douresseaux

The Tourist (2010)
Running time: 103 minutes (1 hour, 43 minutes)
MPAA – PG-13 for violence and brief strong language
DIRECTOR: Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck
WRITERS: Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, Christopher McQuarrie, and Julian Fellowes (based upon the film Anthony Zimmer by Jérôme Salle)
PRODUCERS: Gary Barber, Roger Birnbaum, Jonathan Glickman, Tim Headington, and Graham King
EDITORS: Joe Hutshing and Patricia Rommel
COMPOSER: James Newton Howard
Golden Globe nominee

CRIME/ROMANCE with elements of comedy

Starring: Johnny Depp, Angelina Jolie, Paul Bettany, Timothy Dalton, Steve Berkoff and Rufus Sewell

Movies that bring together a big-time male and female movie star for a tale of romance and/or sex can be disastrous, such as Perfect Strangers with Halle Berry and Bruce Willis. The recent film, The Tourist, brings together A-list stars, Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie (although they weren’t the original choices for this movie). Depp and Jolie have almost no screen chemistry; they simply seem like a mismatched pair, and for some reason, this works for The Tourist.

A remake of a French action film, The Tourist is the story of an American in Venice who becomes a decoy in a cat-and-mouse game involving the police, gangsters, a thief, and his lover. Widower Frank Tupelo (Johnny Depp) is an American tourist on a train to Venice, Italy, when he encounters a mysterious beauty, Elise Clifton-Ward (Angelina Jolie). Ward is going to Venice for a long-awaited reunion with her former boyfriend, Alexander Pearce.

Frank is smitten with Elise, and while she surprisingly spends some time with him, Elise abandons Frank to find Pearce. Elise isn’t the only one looking for Pearce. The others include Robert Shaw (Steve Berkoff), a gangster from whom Pearce stole 2.3 billion dollars, and Inspector John Acheson (Paul Bettany) and Scotland Yard. The problem for Frank is that they think he is Pearce because they saw Frank kissing Elise. But no one knows what Pearce now looks like, even Elise.

Truthfully, The Tourist has a slow, muddled plot. Combine that with the obvious-from-the-beginning lack of chemistry between Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie, and this is a recipe for disaster. So why do I like this movie? Well, I am a huge fan of Depp, and I also like Jolie quite a bit. Perhaps, putting them in such a lovely setting as Venice and also adding a bit of international intrigue are just enough to get a sap like me to go along for The Tourist’s ride.

This film is beautifully photographed by the accomplished, Australian cinematographer, John Seale, who won an Academy Award for his work on The English Patient (1996). Seale also received Oscar nominations for Witness, Rain Man, and Cold Mountain. Seale does the majority of the work that gives The Tourist its elegance and sophistication. This glowing, shimmering romantic, half-romp is one of the most beautiful movies of the year. It seems as if the director, writers, and even the stars Depp and Jolie didn’t know how to make The Tourist work, but the cinematographer did. How often does that happen?

That’s okay. Fans of Jolie and Depp can find reasons to enjoy The Tourist. It does not matter what those reason are.

6 of 10

2011 Golden Globes: 3 nominations: “Best Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy,” “Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy” (Johnny Depp), and “Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy” (Angelina Jolie)

Thursday, May 05, 2011

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