My Worst Fear
I thought my worst fear was being realized during the opening minutes of The Tourist, that this would end up being nothing more than a glorified “vacation” film. When stars Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie repeatedly stated during interviews that one of the major draws to signing on to make the film was the fact that they both live in Italy and that they could basically work during the day and then go home and sleep in their own beds at night, I thought we would basically end up with a less fun version of an Ocean’s Eleven sequel, where everyone is trying to put in the bare minimum work before going off to play catch with their kids. That was what was going through my head before Depp made his first appearance on screen. Once he appears, all my doubts disappeared. By the end of the film, Depp and Jolie manage to star in one of the most fun films I’ve seen in a theater all year.
The Tourist is the story of Elise Clifton-Ward (Jolie), a mysterious woman who is being followed by Scotland Yard agents throughout the film. She has been in a relationship with a fellow named Alexander, who stole $750 million dollars from an English gangster years ago. Alexander sends a note to Elise at the beginning of the film and tells her to take a train ride to Venice. Once on the train, find a man that matches his height and weight proportions, with the idea being that the agents following her will think that the man she is seen with is Alexander after extensive plastic surgery. Once this man is arrested, Alexander and Elise will be free to be together.
Johnny Depp plays Frank Tupelo, a Wisconsin math teacher on vacation in Venice that Jolie chooses as her decoy on the train. Depp’s performance shines from the very first time he is on screen. Watching him interact with Jolie, it occurred to me that we don’t often see Depp play characters that can be described as regular guys, but that is exactly how he plays Frank. Making awkward small talk about his electronic cigarette at first, every conversation he has with Jolie throughout the film you believe this character is blown away by this woman. The flirtation scenes between the two are fun and spark, and actually makes me wonder why no one has thought to cast these two together in something before now.
Don’t Skip It
Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck makes this his directorial followup to the Oscar winning film The Lives of Others, and deserves praise for what he manages to project onto the screen. Taking a script that could have produced your average action-comedy, Donnersmarck goes to the Hitchcock well. From the beautiful cinematography to the fun, bouncy score, this film reminds you of the sexy, almost comedic caper film To Catch a Thief without being more than a small homage.
This film had been surrounded by bad buzz leading up to its release. Even in this week’s “What Movie Should I See This Weekend?” article, I mentioned you might be better off just skipping it based on those rumors. I could not have been more wrong. This film is a perfect date night movie, and with the beautiful locales, I can’t imagine waiting for it to drop on DVD or Blu-Ray.
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