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Archive for September, 2011

The Tourist (2010)

September 8, 2011 4:09 am

 

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Caution: May Cause Drowsiness

A Euro-pudding was a derogatory term applied to films in the 80s and 90s which were funded by large number of different countries. To critics, the sight of the term “A French-English-German-Belgian-Dutch Co-Production’ was enough for them to dismiss the work as a worthless, pretentious piece of crap masquerading as art.

With it’s mix of English, French, Italian, Russian and, of course, American actors and locations, The Tourist could be described as a Euro-pudding. Pudding, however, suggests something satisfying, tasty and fulfilling. Euro-souffle would probably be more fitting. And one that fails to rise at that.

It’s a remake, naturally, of a French film called Anthony Zimmer. Angelina Jolie is Elise, the partner of an international criminal, Alexander Pierce, who Interpol are chasing after he stole over a $1 billion dollars.

Pierce has had plastic surgery, so no one knows what he looks like (including Elise), but a mystery man keeps leaving her notes telling her where to go and what to do, and she unquestioningly follows them to the letter. The latest note tells her to go to Venice and pick someone who matches his height and weight and make Interpol think that this patsy is him. She chooses Johnny Depp (Frank).

What follows is a succession of very dull scenes between Depp and Jolie. Steven Berkoff appears as an international gangster with a never-ending production line of Russian henchmen. Paul Bettany wastes his time as a British Interpol agent (who for some reason we’re initially led to believe works for Scotland Yard ). Rufus Sewell, too, is wasted as the ‘mystery man’. And Timothy Dalton pops up as Bettany’s boss at the beginning, and doesn’t appear again until the climax when he literally appears out of nowhere.

About an hour in we’re suddenly given a ton of information quite quickly which, whilst it changes the plot quite a lot, also throws up far too many questions about what we’ve already seen.

The weirdest thing about The Tourist is that it doesn’t appear to be anything. It’s not an action film (a tedious, slooooow boat chase and Depp’s rooftop escape from the Russians are the closest we get to ‘action’); it’s too light-hearted to be a drama; there’s very little danger or peril, so it’s not a thriller; Depp and Jolie have next to no chemistry (Depp looks positively bored throughout) so it can’t be classed as a romance.

I think the makers were aiming for a kind of Hitchcock homage, in the vein of The Man Who Knew Too Much or North by Northwest. Good luck with that…

It’s fluff, but not even good looking fluff. A Parisian cafe and the shit-filled canals of Venice stopped being exotic in about 1945. Towards the end we go to a posh ball, which looks like it cost a bit to stage, but we’re only there for about five minutes. Still, this is enough time for our heroes to have a dance, despite the fact Jolie is following someone and people are trying to kill Depp.

The whole thing screams ‘Studio Package’. It’s the first Hollywood movie for Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, director of The Lives of Others; Oscar winner Julian Fellowes was involved in the script (though how I’m not quite sure; the closest you get to a witty dialogue is Depp talking to an Italian copper about his attempted murder); two of Hollywood’s hottest stars; a bunch of reliable Brits supporting… and yet it all comes to nothing.

It’s extremely dull. The plot twists in the second half seem have been put there just to move things along a bit quicker, but add nothing except more questions. And the ending is such a mess it MUST have been tinkered with after filming.

It’s not a stinker, just a massive dissapointment and a complete waste of time and money.