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Rediff.com  » Movies » Johnny Depp makes a bad Tourist

Johnny Depp makes a bad Tourist

December 24, 2010 13:43 IST

A scene from The TouristElvis D'Silva reviews The Tourist. Post YOUR reviews here!
 
It feels like this has been a pretty bad year for mainstream cinema, no matter what your poison is. Bollywood and Hollywood have churned out big budget stinkers with greater than either's usual frequency. This is not going to be a better weekend for Hollywood movie fans.

What is the worst thing about watching The Tourist? Could it be the strange pacing that makes the whole affair feel like a somnambulists convention? Could it be that audiences might be more tempted to figure out what languages are being spoken by the attractive extras in the background (because the lead pair are often so difficult to look at) than to figure out the workings of the main plot?
 
Could it be that we are distracted by our efforts to spot once-recognised movie stars (Is that Timothy Dalton? Why yes, yes it is!)? Could it be the leading lady's distracting accent? Or her ridiculous-looking outfits? Or her so-skinny-it-could-break physical frame? Or the fact that she seems to be smirking through almost every scene in the film?
 
As you may have gathered, Angelina Jolie's presence in The Tourist is more disconcerting than entertaining. She plays Elise Clifton-Ward, a mysterious woman in Paris kept under constant surveillance by French and British secret agents while she does mundane things like get coffee at a Parisian cafe.
 
Who is she? Why are those men following her? And why does everybody, no matter where she goes, turn to get a second look at the immobile features of this unhealthily thin woman? All will be revealed, eventually.
 
A scene from The TouristBut first she must board a train to Venice and make her pursuers think that some man that she chooses at random is the person she was scheduled to meet -- thereby throwing them off the scent of the real person they are pursuing.
 
Now naturally, when a woman has to pick up some random guy on a train she picks Johnny Depp. What woman wouldn't? It makes perfect sense. Except that this version of the talented Mr Depp has shaggy unwashed hair, a ridiculously styled beard and is playing a math teacher named Frank Tupelo. Which makes him the tourist of the film's title.
 
It all makes sense now, doesn't it?
 
Honestly, you'll stop caring long before the final credits roll. Because this movie unwinds each and every one of its twists so slowly and unappetizingly that you never really care who the real Alexander Piers is, or who is chasing him, or why.
 
This is just a tedious exercise in studio filmmaking that seems to indicate the level of disdain big-time entertainers can have for their audience. Boring cinematography, boring visuals, boring set design and boring action sequences. It is disturbing to note that this is the Hollywood debut of Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck -- director of the amazing German-language feature The Lives of Others and that Christopher McQuarrie, who co-wrote The Usual Suspects, is one of the credited writers on The Tourist. Is this a case of wasted talent, a pay cheque gig gone bad, or interference from a level much higher than their pay grade?
 
It doesn't matter.
 
Suffice to say that this film is ripe for a Bollywood adaptation (or rip-off) purely because our worst actress could never preen and pout as obnoxiously as Ms Jolie does throughout this film.
 
Is that a compliment? What do you think?
 
Rediff Rating:

Elvis D''Silva in Mumbai