19 November 2011

Movies: The Tourist

The Tourist (2010) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1243957/

Thriller / Action / Mystery/ Comedy / Romance

Elise is being tracked by the French Police, who are working with Scotland Yard. They are trying to catch a dude named Alexander Pearce and they believe she will lead them to him. Pearce is wanted for tax evasion and suspected international criminal activity. He is also known to have stole $2.3 billion from a gangster named Shaw.
Elise receives a note from Alex telling her to get on a particular train at a particular time and find a guy that is about his height and build to throw off the police.  Apparently Alex already knows that Scotland Yard has assumed he has had radical plastic surgery to alter his face.
Frank, an American high school math teacher, happens to be sitting on that train and Elise chooses him as her mark. She feigns interest and tells him to invite her to dinner. While the police are trying to identify the man Elise is dining with, one Scotland Yard policeman, on Shaw's payroll, forwards Frank's picture on to Shaw.  So now both Scotland Yard and Shaw are hunting Frank down to recover their monies.

Stars Johnny Depp as Frank. Angelina Jolie as Elise. Paul Bettany as Inspector John Acheson of Scotland Yard. Timothy Dalton as Acheson's boss.

So there's a bit of mystery, supposedly thrilling chase scenes, romance scenes, and light music that gives the impression it's not supposed to be taken completely seriously but possibly like a comedy of errors. Except it never really delivers on any of those fronts. The movie isn't terrible, it is watchable, but it doesn't really stand out in any way. And it doesn't seem to know exactly what sort of film it is trying to be. I'm surprised it didn't go direct to DVD.   Then again during pre-production they shuffled through a few actors and directors, all who quit over creative differences, before finally ending up with the cast and crew that made the film.

My impression was that the cast was way bigger than the script. Seriously bigger. Bigger in a way that their presence doesn't make the film any better at all, so obviously the big names were necessary to get the film made and distributed. Enough that some serious money was spent. $100million to produce for a gross receipts of $67million or so. Yeah. They spent out the butt to get the cast they had.
I think the problem with the script was it isn't really a new story, it was rather predictable. I stuck around to the end to see if my suspicions were correct.

To me it had a late 70s and 80s feel to it. Sortof a mix of 80s James Bond flicks, Miami Vice, Beverly Hills Cop, Remington Steele and Moonlighting. Granted the story itself isn't in any way reflective of those films/TV shows, but there was a feel to the film that was reminiscent of them.  I did also have an "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade" flashback because a big part of the film takes place in Venice and there are boats.

A ho-hum film with a big cast. Your life will still be complete if you don't see this film. If you're looking for an action thriller flick, look elsewhere, there's better to be had. Then again, if you don't mind a puff piece with hints of romance between Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie, go for it.  If your wife/girlfriend/mistress is twisting your arm to see the film, go ahead. But if all three of them want to see it on different nights you're probably going to want to be ready to fake choking on popcorn early on during the 2nd and 3rd viewings just to get out of having to watch it again.  Rub a little popcorn salt in an eye to make it water then start:
*hack* *glurk* *gasp* "it's okay honey... wrong pipe" *wheeeze* "just keep watching... i'll catch up...."  She'll take pity on you, you disappear into the bathroom, she'll go back to the film and forget about ya for a while.

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