The Tourist Trap

The Tourist Trap


imageBecause Burt likes action movies and I like dramas and comedies, we seldom agree on what movie we should see next. When The Tourist was released recently, we decided to go - I love Johnny Depp movies and Burt feels the same about Angelina Jolie movies. This movie looked like a great opportunity for both of us to see our favorite stars in an action-romance.

The movie started off slowly with Angelina sipping coffee at a Parisian sidewalk café. She is being watched and, after eluding the watchers, she meets Johnny on a train. Depp plays an “average guy” on a European vacation. He appears to be a random tourist swept up in Angelina’s plan to evade pursuit. This was a favorite plot ploy of Alfred Hitchcock. The idea is to have a regular person drawn into danger so the audience will have someone to identify with. Depp was a little too good at being “normal”. In most of his movies, he dominates the action. In this movie, Angelina took the lead and he seemed confused and reactive most of the time.

The action moves to Venice with sumptuous interiors of world class hotels and casinos where the beautiful people wear fabulous clothes. There are violent chase scenes that include racing speedboats on the famous canals. There is deception and betrayal. Acting was good, dialog was OK and the action scenes were well done. Unfortunately there was little chemistry between the stars to justify the plot line that Johnny was smitten with Angelina and would do anything to follow her including putting his life at risk. Things build to a climax with a rather unbelievable twist at the end.

We did enjoy the movie but all in all, given the expense and effort, it was a bit of a let-down. In an interview, Depp said that he preferred to hide behind outlandish masks, make-up and or costumes. Looking back over his movies, that becomes apparent. I guess that when he was asked to act like a regular person with nothing special about his appearance, he was just a little too good at it and failed to really engage the audience. Angelina has done many similar things better in her other action movies.

The Tourist was a remake of an older French film, Anthony Zimmer. American companies often redo French dramas, comedies and thrillers with mixed results. The production had problems with directors, writers and stars changing until the final group was assembled. The reviewers were lukewarm and, for once, we should have believed them.