Friday, 7 January 2011

Brief Musings on The Tourist

Were it not for a somewhat injudicious move from the Foreign Press Association a few weeks ago, The Tourist would have managed to pass us by with nary a peep from outraged film enthusiasts about its awfulness. I’m not sure awful is the right accreditation to give it – it’s the sort of gloriously ineffectual thriller/comedy/action film that does little to add anything significant to the year in film, but doesn’t too much to destroy it either – not for me, at least. The film focuses on Elise, the sort of woman you’d expect to turn up in some film noir as she has experiences that don’t seem to be particularly linked by plot. Suffice to say, the plot isn’t the strongpoint of the venture – truth is, you’d be hardpressed to find any strongpoint. It all meanders on in that very humdrum that’s neither terrible nor excellent. It’s as such, though, that Jolie’s natural charisma manages to be one of the things I latch on to easily. 
For someone so obviously beautiful it’s strange that she hasn’t played a role playing up to her looks as much, and it’s not that The Tourist depends on her looks – but from the long opening of Elise sashaying down the streets of Paris – you can’t deny that it’s a help. I’m not averse to actors playing themselves, since playing one’s self isn’t necessarily easy, and Jolie seems to just be existing with the palpable sense that the entire spectacle is fairly ridiculous. If the point of the venture was to see which superstar could out-act the other without really acting Depp fails miserably because there’s absolutely nothing interesting about his characterisation – not that there’s anything decidedly interesting about Elise either, but Angelina is nothing if not demanding of your attention. I will say, though, that the film is at its strongest (remember, this on a curve) when the two are together – even if it’s Jolie doing the heavy lifting. So, even when we’re tossed back into the rote machinations of secrets to be revealed and the usual “surprises” it’s still interesting watching her not being phased by it at all...which makes it ironic that she makes the Razzie’s shortlist and Depp doesn’t. Truth be told, I wouldn’t campaign for either of them on a Worst of List because even in his blandness Depp isn’t as offensive as he was in Alice in Wonderland (one of the things that prevented from loving Burton’s spectacle, though I did have more appreciation for it than most). In the grand scheme of things there’s not much to see here – and though its blandness is a fault, I don't think there's that much to criticise. Moreover, considering the madness the Globes have embraced over the past few years I’m a bit nonplussed as to why people are so averse to this particular one. Ah well.

C/C-

6 comments:

Yojimbo_5 said...

The Golden Globes nominated these two performances because 1) they'd like one or the other to show up and 2) The Tourist was shot on location—something to be encouraged by the Foreign Press.

I don't think Jolie was playing herself—my impression of her (and I know her so well! insert eye roll here) is much more earthy. This is an Audrey Hepburn role—nice clothes, playing to her strengths (which is looking good in nice clothes), and maximizing her effectiveness by having her do very little. Bit of a waste, that, as she can do so much better (has she won a Grammy yet? Probably can't expect a Tony for awhile to get the EGOT). But, she took the role because it was fast, little prep, and she got to travel...and Depp got it because...Sam Worthington had "creative differences" (Sam WORTHINGTON can have "creative differences?")

Nice to see Dalton again, though...

Walter L. Hollmann said...

Sam Worthington would not have been able to pull off the last bit, imo, though he'd probably try a little more than Depp. I'm shocked this made the Razzie shortlist. I'm shocked this made anyone's shortlist for anything. How do people remember this movie?

Andrew: Encore Entertainment said...

yojimbo ha! i love your take on jolie, though i misrepresent myself. i meant to say she's playing who the public sees her as - glamorous and distant. she was terribly wasted, but she was still enjoyable - for me. (laughing at worthington.)

oh walter! meanie (and absolutely right.)

James D. said...

You are kinder than most.

Also, can I just say I love the new layout?

Andrew: Encore Entertainment said...

james i know i am, which is weird because i usually am harsher. and thanks for the loving the layout - work in progress, though.

Jess said...

I liked it. I found it romantic and engrossing. Simple rather than thrilling - which means it doesn't fit well into a genre and perhaps suffers for it. Definitely not a comedy and made no sense to be put in that category, imho. Nice write up though.