Not long ago my wife, Joanne, and I watched “The Tourist” (2010) on Blu-Ray. The movie stars Angelina Jolie, Johnny Depp and the city of Venice, Italy. This well-paced action/drama was directed by German, Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck.
The movie begins with Jolie’s character, Elise, in Paris and under surveillance by Scotland Yard. Elise is the former paramour of Alexander Pearce, who embezzled 2.3 billion pounds from a British mobster. Scotland Yard doesn’t care so much about the theft, but does want 774 million pounds that Pearce owes in back taxes. The embezzler has disappeared and following Elise is the Yard’s only lead.
Early on, Elise receives a letter from Pearce with instructions to take the 8:22 train from Paris to Venice. On the train Elise, who is sophisticated and savvy, meets soft-spoken math teacher from Wisconsin, Frank Tupelo, (Depp). Scotland Yard at first thinks Tupelo is Pearce, but soon identifies Tupelo as a tourist. With the help of an informant in Scotland Yard, the mob boss receives the first report that Tupelo may be Pearce in disguise, but does not get the correction. And the adventure begins.
There is a chase scene through narrow canals with high-powered boats that will have you looking for a life jacket. During another scene Depp’s character is chased out of his hotel room window onto a precarious ledge and then runs rooftop to rooftop with Italian mobsters in hot pursuit. Of course bullets fly, no one get seriously hurt and the action shows off Venice by night and day.
We felt the movie was a throwback to the Hitchcock thrillers of the fifties with a twist of James Bond action and style of the sixties. Johnny Depp is funny and self-deprecating as the overwhelmed American tourist plucked from one perilous situation after another by the very capable Elise.
During an elegant ballroom scene Jolie’s character takes over the room with her entrance. I said to Joanne “Do you think they filled the room with plain-looking actresses or is Angelina Jolie really that stunning?”
Then or course, there is Venice. Australian cinematographer John Seale showcases the canals and ancient buildings of the city and films it all looking at its best. If you have ever thought of a trip to Venice to photograph the canals, the architecture and the people, this movie shows what you are missing.
The movie is rated PG-13 and runs for 103 minutes. We thought it was time well spent and fun to watch. And when the movie ended Joanne agreed with me… Angelina Jolie really is that stunning.
To see Venice in other movies, take a look at “Summertime” (1955) with Katherine Hepburn as another wide-eyed tourist. For a brief look at the city with more boat chases watch “The Italian Job” (2003). You can also catch two very different James Bonds in Venice. Roger Moore lounges in a gondola in Moonraker (1979) and Daniel Craig survives a building collapse as a much improved Bond in Casino Royale (2006).
November 9, 2011