The Tourist

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Tourist. My most anticipated movie of the year. I remember, about six months ago, I was looking up some news on movies in progress. Soon I learned that a thriller/romance starring Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp was to be made. Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp. Does it get any better than that? From that day on I could not wait for the date on which that movie was going to be released. I knew this had to be good.

There was a lot of negative commentary around this movie. If it wasn't about Angelina looking like a lifeless mannequin, it was the lacking chemistry between the two leads. Though it annoyed me at first, I decided it meant nothing. I can't even tell you how many movies that are considered commercial failures remain among my favorites.

When december 10th was finally at the door, I didn't know how fast I had to run to the movies. I was actually the first person to buy a ticket at the counter (kind of obvious considering I arrived an hour prior :p). I took the best seat in the house, waited for almost an hour (yes, I'm a geek) and finally started watching the movie I expected the world of.

This is a short summary I've put together. If you don't want any spoilers or if you're well informed by the movie, just skip this part.

It opens with Jolie's character, Elise. She's being followed by the police. They want to catch a criminal, Alexander Pearce, who has stolen a big sum of money form a gangster, Shaw. Elise was involved with him. She receives a letter from Pearce which tells her to distract the policemen by approaching a man with similar build and height to make them think it's him. So she gets on a train and approaches Frank, an American tourist (hence 'The Tourist'). They have dinner and get to know each other a little better. Through a series of events, Shaw receives word of 'Alexander' being in Venice. His man chase Frank, but he manages to escape. He gets in the hands of the local police though. He is interrogated by a policeman, who later realises he can make some money by selling Frank. Just as he exchanges the money with the buyers, Elise comes to the rescue. After a insignificant action sequence on boats, Elise tells Frank about Alexander.


The next morning, She drops him of at the airport to return to America. After she takes off, Frank says he's in love with her. Then comes a twist; Elise is an agent too. She was suspended because she wouldn't give Alexander up. But now she's willing to give him up. She is going to meet him at a ball. A man, who is assumed to be Pearce, drops another letter of for Elise. Then Frank shows up out of nowhere. He persists not to leave without her. She tells him he was just a part of a plan and leaves. Frank, interupting the plot to catch Pearce, is grabbed by Elise's colleagues. Elise opens the letter, which contains an address and a key. She leaves while her fellow agents and Frank follow. She arrives at the place and suddenly Shaw and his man drop in. They threaten her to tell them where the safe with Shaw's money is. She claims no to know. Meanwhile, the agents and a captured Frank are watching the whole thing from monitors. Frank begs them to intervene when Shaw treatens Elise with a knife. Finally, Elise gives up the safe. Just when Shaw gets mad as Elise doesn't know the code, Frank, who managed to escape, storms in. He claims to be the real Alexander Pearce. Shaw tells him to open the safe, or else Elise dies. As Frank walks to the safe (in slow motion I might add), the agents shoot Shaw and his men. Elise and Frank are left alone when the agnets are distracted by a man who poses as Alexander. Elise declares she loves both Frank and Alexander. Frank reveals he is in fact the real Pearce by opening the safe. They depart on a boat, leaving behind the exact amount of money that Alexander stole in the safe.

Things that worked:

The gorgeous setting was one of the first things that came to my attention. The breathtaking backdrop of Italy and France is definetely a ++

The best thing about this movie has to be the score. The dream sequence in which Frank kisses Elise contains one of the most beautiful pieces of music I've ever heard. It's right up there with 'Claire de Lune'. I have downloaded the soundtrack and I simply can't stop playing that track over and over again. Kudos to James Newton Howard.
Fun fact: He also composed the soundtrack for 'One fine day'.

The gorgeous actors. Though their chemistry and dialogue could've been better, I really enjoyed watching them. I mean, there are worse ways to spend 104 minutes than watching Angelina dance around in beautiful gowns and Depp climbing the roof in PJ's. Shallow, I know :p

The plot. In spite of the dialogue and action, I really liked the plot. I had not seen the original, 'Anthony Zimmer', so I don't really have anything to compare it with, but I thought the story was pretty smart. There are two twist; Elise being an agent and Frank being Alexander Pearce. When I saw the trailers, I suspected Frank to be the real Pearce, but I had fun seeing how it all unraveled.

Things that didn't work:

The chemistry between Angie and Johnny. I think my expectations were too high on that front. My reasoning that two of the best and prettiest actors must have thundering chemistry was obviously ridiculous. But I do think it could've been much better. They even seemed uncomfortable with each other in scenes where they were supposed to be in love. I think that people tend to compare Angelina's chemistry with the kind she had with Brad Pitt in 'Mr. and Mrs. Smith'. I don't think she'll ever come in that range again, though (for obvious reasons).

The lack of good dialogue. The conversations between Elise and Frank don't go much deeper than "You look ravishing" and "You're the least down-to-earth person I've ever met". This causes the idea of Frank falling in love with Elise to be laughable. When he said "but I'm in love with you" when Elise left, I couldn't help but chuckle. The script overall could've been much more clever. I was shaking my head at the tacky and somewhat cliché lines such as "I have to go drag the...uhh... the thing".

The characters. Though Elise and Frank are both treats to look at, their character development is very poor. Elise basically stands around looking beautiful (it worked for me, but I'm just saying), while Frank is nothing but an ordinary guy falling in love with a extraordinary woman. Their characteristics were never really marked which made it hard for me to take an interest in them.

The action. There's actually only one part that could be called an action sequence; the boat scene. But man, that was one horrible piece of action. I don't think boats serve well in action scenes. Cars are perfect to create that suspense. Boats, on the other hand, are a bit too mundane to create the exhillaration needed in a chase scene. And the fact that the bad guys kept missing the shots fired at Elise made it all seem a tad unrealistic.

So let's get to the bottom line. No chemistry, poor dialogue and horrible action; this is technically a terrible movie. But where is it written that movies always have to be critisized technically? I have seen this movie two times and loved it every time. It's one of those movies that can be categorized in the "guilty pleasure" section. If you overanalyze this movie, you'll definitely hate it. It's more a looker than a thinker. Just enjoy the setting and the actors without too much thinking. It's simply a fun, shallow way to spend a Thursday night.
I've gotta say, I was really surprised when I heard about the Golden Globe nominations. Though I love the movie, I can see why it's unappreciated on a professional level. It's not an award kind of movie, which is fine. Also, the category doesn't really make sense. Though there were times when I laughed, I don't think it qualifies as comedy. But even though this movie doesn't really deserve the nominations, I secretly hope it does. And considering all the hate comments and negativity focused on Jolie, I especially hope she gets the award for best actress.

Favorite scenes:
* Elise telling Frank how to ask her to dinner.
* Frank's dream; the kiss
* Paul Bettany's character saying Alexander does look like Frank, only to find out Frank has escaped

4 comments:

Paul S said...

Hi C, love the new format and the new title.
As for The Tourist,I haven't seen it yet but I'm certainly not going to let any negative reviews shape my opinion of it.I've never been one to overanalyze a movie anyway,I'll just sit back and enjoy it.
Good luck with your new direction,I'll be following you with interest.

chelsea313 said...

Thanks for your support Paul. I appreciate it :)

Jimmy Jarred said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jimmy Jarred said...

I saw this movie on television few months back. Its not a perfect film but is having some very strong points.
Watch The Tourist Movie

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