“The Tourist”: In The Long Run It’s Worth The Ride (in a way)-A Movie Review

{This movie was not viewed on the big screen, but rather on a 32 inch screen at my house through a $1 movie rental vending machine….because I’m cheap…and that’s just how I roll…}

“You look ravenous,” Frank. 

“You mean ravishing?” Elise.

“Yes. that’s it,” Frank.

A movie that hails Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie as its twin centerpieces would do well to include plenty of playful banter between the two. But really, the above example is an exception to what is found in the “The Tourist.”

This is what the world's most expensive display of non-chemistry looks like

The film would have been better served to lean towards an action comedy than a forced drama. As it stands, it currently resides in an undecided no man’s land.

For every drab dialogue between Jolie and Depp we get a cheesy violin soundtrack cued. It makes nearly every scene with the two melodramatic. Depp’s character, Frank, is an American math professor and unsuspecting tourist. Without spoiling the ending, I’d say you will find that while Frank is being swept up into a stirring plot of international espionage he seems a bit unimpressed, nonplussed. This never piques the interest of Jolie’s character, Elise, who is supposed to be a heckuva secret agent in her own right.

Jolie’s beauty is overplayed throughout the movie, so much so it gets in the way. Every male waiter, hotel manager and ballroom attendee is unwittingly awestruck by her. We get it, she’s pretty. Of course this could also just mean Italian men are unabashed chauvinistic creepers, and the movie is only staying true to the cultural reality. Bravo if that is the case. 

At least the directors don’t make Elise out to be some femme fatal superhero (a la SALT). And though some of the chase scenes (especially the boat scene) are farfetched, none are on the scale of a “Transporter” travesty. There really aren’t enough fights and explosions to categorize this movie as a “thriller.”

Considering Depp and Jolie are the two hottest movie stars of the day their onscreen chemistry is neither compelling nor believable. Any romance the movie proposes between the two is forced from the beginning. Depp is bumbling fool and Jolie is an obnoxiously confident narcissist. The filmmakers seem to assume since the backdrop of the movie is Paris and Venice a minimal amount of believability is needed for a romance to develop. If anything, the awe-inspiring scenery and architectural beauty exacerbates the fact that an unbelievable romance has developed.  When Jolie mouths “I love you” to Depp in the final climactic scene of the movie you have to wonder, “Really?” You two have seemed nothing but uncomfortable with one another ever since you met two days ago.

The film would be more fitted for a Travel Channel special than a cat and mouse blockbuster.

At the end of the movie, when you remember the whole plot premise hangs on a very improbable encounter on a speed train, the holes begin to manifest.

There are three redeeming nuggets to the movie:

1. I’d like to think the French police are as impotent as the movie portrays them to be. Or to put it in another way, as impotent as the French military is.

2. The really bad guys are Bulgarian (or Russian?) gangsters. For some reason it’s  still not politically incorrect in our society to portray Eastern bloc citizens as heartless thugs.

3. Paris and Venice really are breathtakingly beautiful cities. I’d love to be an actual “tourist” there someday.

I guess going to those historical cities through a disappointing dollar movie ($1.07 including tax) is more cost efficient than emptying out my son’s college fund. In that way, and maybe that way only, viewing “The Tourist” was worth it.

Bryan Daniels

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Author: Bryan Daniels

I am a follower of Jesus, a husband to Jessica, and a father of three boys: Josiah, Gideon and Judah. I teach high school math as a job, read reformed theology as a hobby, and write this blog just for kicks. With the rest of my time I coach football and track.

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