February 7, 2011
There had been so many bad reviews about The Tourist, I did not want to watch it at all despite the unprecedented partnership of Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie. I did not want to be disappointed, especially after those snide remarks about their bribed Golden Globe nominations. However, when I actually heard a good review from someone, I decided to give it a chance to see what the real score is about this film.
The first thing you notice about The Tourist is it's slick shiny look. It was like a James Bond film with extra shine. Angelina Jolie had that unreal femme fatale look as Elise Clifton-Ward, with her ultra-glamorous dresses and hairstyles. She is being tailed by the police in search for a man named Alexander whom we would surmise is her lover. As instructed by Alexander in a note, Elise takes a train to Venice to meet him. However, to distract the police, she should first pick a person on the train with Alexander's height and built. That is where Wisconsin professor Frank Tupelo (an worn-out looking Johnny Depp) comes in, setting up this twisty story of action, comedy and romance.
I can't say that I did not see the final twist coming, and yes, the plot is quite shallow. But you know what, since I watched this film expecting it to totally suck, I actually enjoyed its preposterousness and sense of humor. Sometimes the stars are too big, or the director is award-winning (in this case, Florian von Donnersmark of the amazing "The Lives of Others") that we get unrealistic expectations. That was why The Tourist disappointed so many people. I liked the elegant locales and the very good-looking cast. It is not above poking fun at its stars, like those scenes where all the bystanders staring in awe as Angelina passed by. I thought Johnny actually deserved his Golden Globe nomination here, instead of his grotesque turn in Alice in Wonderland. It isn't that bad. You may actually be entertained, as I was.