Tuesday, January 18, 2011

New Release: The Tourist (really)

I will confess, I had no expectations going to see The Tourist.  I knew it took place in Venice and it starred Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie.  Oh, and it was butt of many, many jokes (including at the Golden Globes).  However, I think I was a beneficiary of those low expectations.  I actually thoroughly enjoyed The Tourist.  Having read several reviews from bloggers I read regularly, most of them start off hating it, but then back track to say it's not bad.   Jolie plays Elise Ward, a beautiful, sophisticated woman being watched and followed by the police.  There's very little explanation about why she's under surveillance for quite a while, and it adds to her mystique.  She gets a note that tells her to get on a train from Paris to Venice and pick someone who looks like her old boyfriend, Pearce, and convince the police (French and British) that it IS him.  That's where Depp comes in.  He's an American math teacher who cannot believe his luck that someone like Jolie would pay him any attention.  However, we find out there are some mobsters after Pearce (which means they're now after Depp).  That leads to chases, racing around Venice, escapes, jumping into the canals, boat chasing, mistaken identity and of course, Jolie keeping up the charade for those watching that Pearce has returned.  Well, she does that until she realizes the danger it puts Depp in.  Then the movie goes in many different directions - and I loved 'em.
I found it a very romantic thriller, very much a throwback to the pacing and thriller nature of Charade or To Catch a Thief or the whimsy (definitely not comedy) of Roman Holiday.  I don't think it deserved  nominations necessarily (though definitely if Anne and Jake got 'em Jolie and Depp were on par).  There were many movies and many performances more deserving, but that doesn't diminish what The Tourist was able to pull off.  Venice was beautiful and Jolie was the perfect ice queen for 90% of it, trying to convince the police that Pearce is back but that she doesn't know she's being followed.  But she pulls off her two big twists perfectly.  I couldn't see the big twist coming until just before and then I hoped that was what was going to happen.  Paul Bettany does a good job as the crotchety, frustrated Scotland Yard officer willing to stop at nothing to bring in Pearce (often a role that goes to someone like Harvey Keitel or another older actor, Bettany's relative youth made more sense here).    Depp's accent (which I've heard maligned) was a decent mid-western American accent.  His hair did bother me a bit, but someone's always does.  But I think Depp and Jolie were just as sexy and compatible as Cary Grant and either Audrey Hepburn or Grace Kelly.  Gotta admit I'd love to see it again already. 4 of 5 stars/lambs


Movielocker said...

Hm, I think I´ll actually wait to rent it... as much as I like Depp, I can´t, repeat after me, CAN´T stand Jolie. I don´t know why. I just can´t. And I´m actually still waiting for a new Burton/Depp-movie that doesn´t suck. Is that so much to expect?
Whatever, visit the blog I´m writing for if you like.

Jess said...

Hi Sebastian. Thanks for commenting. If you're not a Jolie fan, then I'm not sure this is for you - it's quintessential Jolie. Good luck with your blog. Have you submitted a request to join The LAMB?

Andrew: Encore Entertainment said...

YAY. I didn't love it, but I'm glad you did. I keep saying I find Angelina irresistible here - she's just so on point with the mysteriousness and whatnot. I think she prevents the movie from being TERRIBLE.

Jess said...

Andrew - I liked it so much more than I expected. I think describing the individual elements of the movie didn't work, but it comes together very well and the tone really worked for me.

CMrok93 said...

It's more of an entertaining film than anything else, and although it may not be perfect, it still doesn't take itself too seriously, and you actually have some fun. Good review!

Castor said...

Really? Really???? ;)