Friday, December 10, 2010

The Tourist Review


Plot:  Elise (Angelina Jolie) is quietly waiting at a French cafe for her former love and mystery man, Alexander Pearce, but Alexander is no ordinary fellow.  He's a tax cheat, an embezzler, and an oh-so brilliant con man.  Alexander has also kept his lady love waiting for 2 long years with cryptic notes and secret rendezvous.  Alexander's last big heist has caught the unwanted attention of gangster, the French police, and Scotland Yard.  They all see to have his number and they are watching Elise in hopes of capturing him.  Alexander uses smoke and mirrors to contact Elise one last time.  He instructs Elise to board a train to Venice, pick out a man en route who resembles him, and trick the authorities into believing the poor schmuck is Pearce.

Enter Johnny Depp:  This poor schmuck just happens to be a math teacher from Wisconsin named Frank (played by Johnny Depp).  So begins the predictable relationship between Angelina's pseudo-Grace Kelly/Femme Fatale and simple American tourist, Frank.   Haven't seen this one before, right?  As this case of mistaken identity lures Frank deeper and deeper into Elise and Pearce's tongue-in-cheek/cloak and dagger world, the film sinks into a rather dull, yet modern, version of To Catch a Thief.  As Elise and Frank start to develop feelings for one another, Elise starts to question her scheme on behalf of the evasive Pearce.  Paul Bettany plays the dogged Scotland Yard detective hard pressed to find Pearce.  This makes him prone to mistakes and somewhat callous.  Timothy Dalton plays a nice supporting role as Scotland Yard's Chief Inspector.  Tim Dalton is another actor who could read the phone book and sound scholarly.  Unfortunately, Timothy Dalton is grossly underused in this film.
What follows is an addled cat and mouse escapade between Elise and Frank; the gangsters after Pearce; and Scotland Yard. The cliches are rather thick in this film and although it appeared to be an action movie in the previews, the film was more of a "who-dun-it?" (or "where is he?"). I hasten to call it a thriller. As I mentioned earlier, it reminded me of a film from an era gone by. It felt very much like a 1950's Cary Grant/Grace Kelly flick. The costumes, set design, and music added to that feeling. Overall, the film was slow moving, but enjoyable. It was nice to see Johnny Depp play something other than a pirate or a cartoon.

1 comment:

  1. I also got a North by Northwest vibe from this. Unfortunately, I saw the big reveal coming a mile away, so I actually started to get impatient when they kept dragging it out.

    The movie's not as bad as the professional critics made it out to be, but it's also not Golden Globe worthy like the Hollywood Foreign Press felt.

    I think most regular people who see it will like it well enough.


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