My Ten Cents On: The Tourist

Let me first get it out of the way, I’m a fan of Johnny Depp as an actor. The man just has an uncanny ability to bring to life the entirety of a character. Say what you will about his Willy Wonka, but as far as a complete character goes, the man is flawless. At no point does he do something unlike his character, and it just makes him so damned fun to watch, how much he brings these individuals to life. Sometimes though, its in the midst of a not so great movie, but he’s always a fun guy for me to watch. I’m glad that this isn’t one of those films.

The Tourist, is about… Well, if you want to, you can read it here. I typed out my own synopsis but my computer crashed as I typed my way to what I believe is around 1/3 of this review and I am somewhat tamad (translated as: distraught with laziness) to redo that part. So go ahead, read the link, and get back to me when you’re up for more of my yammering.

I went into the movie hoping that it would find a way to balance out all the comedic, romantic, and action elements that I saw in the trailer. And happily, it very well did. So, without any further ado, lets get into it, and since I already talked about it, why not start with…

+ Johnny Depp

Apart from playing crazy people like Willy Wonka, the Mad Hatter, and everyone’s favorite pirate (probably only second favorite once you see Ian  McShane play Blackbeard in the new Pirates of the Caribbean Movie), Jack Sparrow, Johnny Depp does an excellent job portraying an otherwise unspectacular character. He plays Frank Tupelo, a math teacher from Wisconsin who’s headed to Venice as a tourist. When Angelina Jolie’s character, Elise Clifton-Ward, uses him as bait to throw off the authorities  from the trail of her boyfriend, he gets sucked into a world of espionage and crime. And he goes through the movie and all its action sequences like you think a regular math teacher would, very clumsily and uncoordinated.

Johnny Depp shows quite subtly and completely, how awkward the character he’s playing is. The only time this is broken is when he’s replaced by the stunt double who instinctively does falls and stunt jumps safely and properly. There’s this one scene where he’s running away from gunmen along the roofs of Venice, and he tiptoes around as if he’s really worried about his balance. When you see it, I swear it’ll at least get you to smile. Not only because it looks funny, but because its not so out of place. The film has great senses in both…

+ Realism and Balance

I lumped them in together because, for me, they they’re kind of one in the same, two sides of a coin, so to speak. It feels more real because of the balance of the comedic, action and romantic elements (the last only barely), and the whole movie is balanced because of how real the movie feels. (Angelina Jolie doesn’t jump off of a fly over onto a moving truck in this one, *cough* SALT *cough*)

The action scenes are pretty standard. I mean they don’t really do any over the top moves, but do enough to provide sequences that are thrilling and still believable. The comedy has its moments, mostly coming from Johnny Depp. His characters mannerisms and minor ticks are actually a decent comic relief, especially since it doesn’t happen too often.  As for the romantic side, well that was the weakest of the three, and I’ll discuss that later on.

+ Cinematography and Venice

What made the movie really dramatic was the way it was shot. There’s just something I love about European-Hollywood movies and the way they’re shot (usually when Hollywood directors shoot at different locations, they hire local crews, including cinematographers). Be it Bourne Identity, In Bruges, or Casino Royale, the whole European action theme is just entertaining for me, European cinematographers know how to shoot in Europe. And this movie is no exception.

Venice is pretty. I love how they used the location. They chose great places to shoot, and the jump from place to place fit the plot pretty well. It makes me want to visit Venice now.

+ The Twist at the Climax

I don’t know if you’ll like it, but I think that The Twist is one of the most fun dance moves ever. :D

I said I’d talk about the romance part in a latter part, well that time is NOW, ladies and gentlemen.

– The Romance

I didn’t feel the chemistry too much in this one. I mean, with so much going on in the movie, I think its understandable, but over the course of the movie, I was just confused as to where the ruse peters out and where the real romance between the two begins. I may chalk this up to Angelina’s acting, because Johnny Depp was in love with her the whole time, and that felt authentic. its just that with Jolie, I couldn’t tell at which point she truly started to like him.

– The Villain

The main villain here is a crime boss named Reginald Shaw. He’s made out to be the strongest, most powerful crime boss in Europe, but hardly ever shows it. He’s the typical action flick villain, with 3-dimensionality of a piece of paper. He’s just evil, because he is. He says he doesn’t want to do it anymore, he’s tired of it, then he turns around and chokes his failure of a henchman with a tape measure. (look at me, I’m so evil, I strangled one of my underlings just to show how evil I am… FEAR ME!) and yet, over the course of the movie, he gets bested by 2 people.  And kinda makes a lot of stupid mistakes. You’ll see for yourself.

The Police

I really like Paul Bettany, and I absolutely love Timothy Dalton (tied with Sean Connery for me as best James Bond). Its just that their roles here were rather insignificant. I really don’t think that they being in the movie at all would have changed a thing. I mean, admittedly they do play a role in the film, but if you take a look at the plot, they do practically nothing for it. Bettany’s character is a whiny baby who is supposed to be a top level investigator, but you never really quite get that. The police are amateurs at tailing, and Timothy Dalton doesn’t exist aside from being a Deus Ex Machina (I shan’t comment any further for fear of spoiling).

My Cents Worth: 7/10

Its a good movie, but I’m a kind of guy who believes a good villain is essential to a GREAT movie. In any conflict, man vs. man, man vs. nature, man vs. himself, the villain has to be good, especially true in the first situation, otherwise, you just won’t love it as much. That’s the biggest reason why I can’t give this movie any higher than a 7, which is a shame because the movie could have been even better for me if that part was changed.

Angelina Jolie’s hot in it though, and it is definitely a must see. So I really hope you give it a look nonetheless!

Posted on January 18, 2011, in Film Reviews. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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