I was not as thrilled when I first heard about The Tourist. I could not even understand why everyone was excited about it. Then, as always, I Google-d it and found out what all the excitement was all from. It was a movie top-billing Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie. Well of course I went squealing, like hello, they’re two of my most favorite character actors.
But it was only recently that I saw it, unfortunately. That was after I read the reviews strewn all over the Internet (yeah, I like spoiling myself), which I guess helped because the reviews were not as complimenting and made me expect less of it. And this I think was what all them review-writers should have done: expected less.
The movie was about Alexander Pearce, a fugitive thief wanted both by the authorities of 17 countries–particularly by the British government–because of his many crimes and by the gangster group from which he stole a huge amount. He fell in love with agent Elise Ward, who as fate had it, was a British agent herself. The film started in Paris and traveled to Venice for the search for Pearce, a chase that was on a blind side because of the fugitive’s reportedly re-sculpted face. The authorities followed Ward as they believed she would bring them to Pearce.
Ward was then seen receiving instructive letters from Pearce, telling her to first board a train and look for a man who might resemble the fugitive and make the authorities believe that the man was the escapee. She heeded and sat with an American teacher, Frank Tupelo. Unfortunately, an attraction was forged between the two, making the lethal chase more difficult. But Pearce was an intelligent man. And the finale proved so, giving the answer to the main conflict in a twist.
What I Think of It
The Tourist was a good film. It has the right amount of suspense and is visually captivating. Definitely, the setting is commendable. I have always favored films that are shot in the beautiful streets of Europe. I also liked how the Venice canal was made as an important addition in the film; it provided a more complex flavor to what could have been an ordinary chase. I also liked the beautifully and artfully included sets of hotel rooms and ball gowns. I think it complemented Jolie’s innate elegance and Depp’s chivalry.
Character-wise, I loved seeing Depp and Jolie together. In fact, learning that it’s them who are in the movie. They make the most out of their roles and adapt to the needs of the characters. I particularly loved hearing Jolie speak, her heavily accented words sensual enough to match the face and the feisty attitude. Her character in her last movie, Salt, translates well with her personality in The Tourist.
As for Depp, I figured he was a bit softer in the film. Maybe it was because of his supposed role of a low-profile teacher and love-struck man, novel-reading man. But whatever it is, there is not enough meat to bite in his performance amidst the smart way of his delivery.
I think this is where most of the negative reviews accorded to it are from. If we consider the lead stars, Depp and Jolie, and we refer to their past films then there is an apparent miss in their team up here in The Tourist. There seems to be less of their edge, of the cunning performances they’ve been most acclaimed for. And maybe, the plot is a bit too tame for both of them, especially for Depp who’s more popular by characters in the range of Jack Sparrow.
The love story angle is also a bit odd, considering that both Depp and Jolie are seemingly way too mature for the love-at-first-sight stuff. Both actors express a strong sense of will to act smitten with each other. Even the plot itself does not mix well with the love theme. It appeared to have drowned whatever thrilling scenes that could still be produced out of the film, what with the inclusion of a sophisticated gangster group and a more grilling police force.
Ultimately, the notion of expecting less becomes a pivotal point when watching The Tourist. Although the film has not fully maximized its actors potentials, there is still a satisfactory nod to give to the entire film even for simply making the dream of seeing Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp together come true.
Photos from: Rotten Tomatoes