Look for a Domestic Destination Instead
image from daemonsmovies.com
RANT: Today, an old man and his wife were in the theater. It was very touching to see the man take his wife from her wheelchair to the theater seat, put her drink in the armrest holder and cover her with the blanket they had brought with them from home. I could only imagine the richness of their lives together up to today.
SYNOPSIS: Elise Ward is the subject of a police investigation. As she trains to Venice, she selects Frank Tupelo, a math teacher from Wisconsin, as a diversion in order to reconnect with her criminal lover.
Screenplay writer and director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck brings Venice alive with this cat and mouse tale. All of the elements were in place with the story, the exotic locales and a top notch cast to be a hell of a ride. Unfortunately, even with Depp, Jolie and Bettany, The Tourist should have stayed home.
Angelina Jolie is sultry sexy and Johnny Depp is at his bumbling best. But even though Jolie's eyes could smolder a hole through a man, the chemistry between Depp and her is tenuous at best. Depp's character, Frank Tupelo, is a math teacher from Wisconsin targeted by Jolie's Elise Ward during the high-speed train to Venice. Elise uses Frank for his similar build to her long-missing criminal lover, Alexander Piers, in order to distract and confuse the investigators, led by Paul Bettany's Inspector John Acheson, who are running surveillance on Elise once in Venice. Add to that intrigue British drug lord Reginald Shaw who surrounds himself with Russian mercenaries bent on capturing Alexander Piers in order to get his stolen money back.
For a suspenseful cat and mouse drama, there needs to be the chance of failure or pain. Since Reginald Shaw directs his men to not harm the mistakenly targeted Tupleo, every bribe, every boat chase through the canals of Venice, every near miss is really just a shadow of effort. We also are certain that the beautiful Jolie will not be harmed, hurt or disfigured in The Tourist (nothing like Salt) since she is far too valuable as the porcelain doll that she is. Bettany brings a tired intensity as the long pursuing Inspector John Acheson. Berkoff somewhat relies on the Reginald Shaw reputation for murdering entire families (even the dog if it suits him), although he does get his hands dirty a little bit.
Although I had high hopes for this film - despite the critics' reviews - I have to side with the general consensus. Venice and Jolie are exquisite and Depp is ever fun to watch, but all together there is just not enough luggage to make it worth the trip.
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