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.