Sunday, January 9, 2011

The Tourist


Clueless American tourist Frank (Johnny Depp) is framed-up by Elise Ward (Angelina Jolie), a fugitive money launderer’s lover being chased by various international intelligence agencies, as they take the Eurostar from Paris to Venice. Things get out of hand and awkwardly funny as the two start to fall for each other.

As my mother already narrated in a rather disappointed tone, Angelina Jolie really does nothing physically demanding here aside from hitting a mafia goon with a life buoy in a Venetian canal chase scene. And walking! She walks a lot, which I retorted was just apt since that is what tourists actually do, walk. Perhaps it is Jolie’s inclination towards the kick-ass chick roles that makes people forget that she is in fact, a woman and a mother of six. Give her a break. She must have gotten tired from all the truck and elevator jumping she did from Salt so she just decided that for her next movie, she would do nothing but be gorgeous and lock lips with Johnny Depp. And hit a mafia goon with a life buoy. Besides, with the A-List status she currently enjoys any producer would probably be more than willing to cast her in their movie even if all she does is just glare at the camera. She pouts. She giggles. She walks. Her domineering presence effectively complements Johnny Depp’s deadpan humor in this movie. They might not light up the screen like they had with previous partners but they are definitely a pair that is a joy to watch.

Johnny Depp provides most of the comedy here with his naivety and blank expressions, although his appearance still summons the unshakable image of Captain Jack Sparrow. His being the damsel in distress adds a lot to the humor. This is one of the cool aspects of this movie. The two lead actors, both considered action stars in their own right, do nothing but run and get harassed. The action mainly comes from the supporting characters. This oddity lends the film a unique charm that was obviously lacking from recent movies of the action-comedy genre such as that Cruise-Diaz starrer Knight and Day. Back to Johnny Depp, he gets his fair share of walking and jumping from one roof to another in a hilarious chase scene the day after checking in at the Hotel Danieli.

There are two twists: one minor, and the other major. The former is already obvious from the character’s demeanor, which is bound to raise questions if you are paying attention. The latter is rather contrived and you will certainly get a gut-feel that it might be the case, but easily dismiss it due to lack of evidence and the convenience in terms of plot development.

What is the moral lesson of the story? Never trust a woman you just met on a train, even if she is as mesmerizing as Angelina Jolie. Especially if she is into you. Why? Well, because happy endings only happen in movies. You might not be as lucky.

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