Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Tourist

In 1963, the best Alfred Hitchcock movie never made by Alfred Hitchcock was released. It was called Charade and was directed by Stanley Donen (Singin' in the Rain) and starred Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant. Every time there was a dull moment in The Tourist (which there were many of), I found myself saying, "this movie is trying really hard to be Charade." The Tourist is about two individuals, who through a chance meeting, end up on the run together. The first character is Elise (Angelina Jolie), the girlfriend of an international criminal who gets a letter from him saying to find a man who matches his little known description and trick the authorities following her (two agents played by Paul Bettany and Timothy Dalton) into thinking this random man is in fact the thief who has eluded the law for years. Elise picks a man named Frank (Johnny Depp) who is a mathematician from Wisconsin and is sightseeing in Venice.

What follows is a very cliche film where all of the elements are too overly romanticized. Frank and Elise share "meaningful" flirty glances and make witty retorts while bullets might as well be flying around them. It did get me thinking whether or not a these types of movies being more gritty nowadays (see something like The Bourne Identity) was a good thing or a bad thing, but I'd imagine that a movie like The Tourist would be feasible. Instead we are filled with a very boring and unexciting movie with the most annoyingly romantic music. The acting on the parts of Jolie and Depp weren't bad and I don't think it has to do with a lack of chemistry (like was the case with Brad Pitt and Julia Roberts in The Mexican), instead I blame the writing and I really don't know what happened because of the talent involved.

The film is an adaptation of French director Jerome Salle's (Largo Winch) first film called Anthony Zimmer. The first draft of the screenplay was written by Christopher McQuarrie (Academy Award winner for The Usual Suspects) and the second draft of the screenplay was written by Julian Fellowes (Academy Award winner for Gosford Park). The third draft was written by the film's eventual director, Florian Henckel Von Donnersmarck (Academy Award winning writer/director for Best Foreign Film for The Lives of Others). The movie could've been the most poorly advertised and misrepresented movie in existence and I'd still happily pay ten dollars to sit and watch what he would came up with. I remember becoming a real movie buff around 2006, and I was shocked when Pan's Labryinth lost the Academy Award to this movie I was unfamiliar with. That being said, once I sat down and watched The Lives of Others, it became one of my top all-time favorite films. I suppose that Hollywood just threw money at three award-winners and said "put something out there."

Johnny Depp's character is just too ordinary for the good of this story and the same could be said about Angelina Jolie's character being too extraordinary. The film is lacking any sense of complexity (see the unexciting roof top chase) and even with the twists being somewhat unpredictable, once they've passed they just seem typical. The Tourist is harmless; it isn't a horrible movie, it should just be a good one. The movie is too relaxed and I'm more disappointed that the pairing of two amazing actors (see Depp in What's Eating Gilbert Grape?, Ed Wood, Finding Neverland, and Public Enemies and Jolie in Girl Interrupted, The Good Shepherd, A Mighty Heart, and Changeling) had what could've been a great opportunity wasted on them.

Where's the pairing of a Grant and a Hepburn when you need it? Oh wait, it already happened.

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