Friday, April 08, 2011

The Tourist: Grade C


The Tourist (2010)

Angelina Jolie, Johnny Depp, Paul Bettany, Timothy Dalton, Rufus Sewell; Writer-Director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck

Good acting by Johnny Depp and Paul Bettany save this movie from total disaster, but it is pretty bad. Jolie is “statuesque” and well-costumed, but her face is painful to look at. I guess she is considered beautiful, but I see her distorted face as frighteningly grotesque. Depp plays a straight, for-real character in the first half, a real treat, before he goes into his trademark ironic shtick near the end.

Jolie is some kind of undercover agent (it’s not clear what kind) in Venice and she is pursued by bad guys, from her point of view, although they later turn out to be cops, including Bettany. Why? Because they want her elusive husband for tax evasion. She attaches herself to a simple math teacher from Wisconsin, a tourist on a train (Depp), so the baddies will think that’s her husband. Convincing? Not for an instant. From then on there are interminable and unconvincing boat chases through the canals of Venice. There are some crude CGI shots of Venice, which makes me doubt the film was even made there. There are a few funny lines (far too few) and some of the sets are done up in sensuous detail.

Gunshots are fired, but they all magically miss so nobody is hurt. In the end, there is a hidden safe, and missing money, and I can’t even remember what all. Basically, nothing was ever at stake in this movie. It was just Keystone Cops. And unforgivably, the ridiculous ending, which anybody could see coming a mile away, undercut and contradicted everything you have seen so far, making the viewer a sucker for watching it.

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