Saturday 11 December 2010

Movie Review: The Tourist

Good looking man, good looking woman, good looking locale. Hey, seems like a sure fire thing. Or is it?

I saw the previews and they did seem intriguing as well as showing a couple of funny bits. But before I headed off to the 4:20pm show on opening day, I glanced at Rotten Tomatoes and discovered the critics were not being very kind towards it. At 2pm, it was ranked 16% and now at 8pm, it's showing 20%. A bit of an improvement but this baby is going down and going down fast. I've seen mention of a $100 million budget so I must ask if the makers will turn a profit. Opening weekend is very important and can the big name starring of Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie pull in the crowds before people hear the word and the word ain't good?

Okay, I won't say it's bad. It's just that it is not good, it is merely so-so. All the ingredients are there but for some reason it just doesn't come together. It's a great cake recipe but it just doesn't rise in the oven. And if you ask why; what would I change to make this a great film, I'm not sure. The intrigue wasn't "intriguey" enough, the dialogue wasn't witty enough and the suspense wasn't... oh, yeah like I didn't see that one coming!

The story takes place, for the most part, in Venice , Italy and as one of the "stars" of the movie, may I say she is still one gorgeous lady after all these years. This is a dramatic action yarn that brings the mysterious beautiful woman in contact with the somewhat bumbling American out of his depth and out of his league. Without a spoiler alert, we have good guys, bad guys, chase scenes and lots of great scenery. However, while the scene of James Bond in Venice for the film Casino Royale had you sitting on the edge of your seat, The Tourist leaves you laid back, quite relaxed and chowing down on your popcorn. Good craftsmanship produces good craft but doesn't produce works of art.

Going back to a budget of $100 million and thinking of how Jolie apparently walked away with $20 million for her role in the spy thriller Salt I would have to wonder if a significant chunk of the overall budget went to enlisting the help of the two main stars. Names like that can't come cheap.

On a curious note, this film is a remake of a 2005 French romantic thriller called Anthony Zimmer. While that film was apparently well received critically, it was not a financial success. Why exactly did the makers of The Tourist decide to place their bets on something which wasn't a success on all counts? What happened to go with a winner?

In my humble opinion, this is the type of film you would see if you had some idle time and there wasn't anything else on TV. It's not bad per se, but it's not good. Good craftsmanship but just not the spark to make this into a good film. As opposed to synergy, the whole is less than the sum of its stars.


Rotten Tomatoes: The Tourist: 20%

Wikipedia: The Tourist


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