Pretty Sights and Sounds – The Tourist Movie Review
Written by Jessica Dwyer
Johnny Depp has said on occasion that he is terrified of romantic comedies. He hates the very thought. I can’t blame him. The idea Hollywood has of what a romantic comedy is nowadays usually involves Katherine Heigl being screechy and pregnant or with a child of some sort or maybe Jennifer Aniston being screechy and either scorned or fought over by two guys who should know better. The formulae has been set in stone now and it’s awful.
Back in the 30s and 40s romance and comedy could mix together with an actual plot and a healthy dose of class as well as mystery. Cary Grant, William Powell, these were the guys who could make that happen on screen. There was never anything overt or uncouth. It was all about being smooth and smart and savvy (to use a favorite word.)
There have been some movies that harkens back to those flicks over the years, but The Tourist is an unabashed attempt at trying to bring back to the screen that type of film. A remake of the French film “Anthony Zimmer”, the tourist takes two of Hollywood’s biggest heavy hitters and instead of making a massive blockbuster action epic creates a fun and witty throwback to old school class. This is even more interesting to realize when the original film was actually made in 2005.
The story is surprisingly simple given the films marketing which I think is being done wrong. Depp’s everyman Frank meets Jolie as the mysterious Elise on a train. She’s been told by her absent lover to find a man to double for him so they can avoid the mobsters he stole 2 billion dollars from and the agents out to nab him for financial fraud. But that’s secondary to the beautiful scenery in Venice and the play between Jolie and Depp.
The Tourist isn’t a major action film as its being advertised. It has more of what I would call a European feel to its pacing and storytelling, which is fine and a welcome change. Dry wit, understated humor all by Depp is great. He plays the role just as I think it should be, with a sense of awkwardness and seeming innocence. Jolie is beautiful, but boy did they put the make-up on her. She doesn’t have to stretch to play Elise, but it’s clear she’s having fun while she’s doing it.
The supporting cast is also great, with Paul Bettany and Timothy Dalton as the agents on the pairs trail as well as Rufus Sewell showing up when needed. But third billing really should go to Venice. The locals are beautiful and so is the music by James Howard. Colleen Atwood once again does an amazing job with the clothes, keeping Depp and Jolie in some classy costumes.
That’s really the best way to sum up The Tourist. It’s classy and fun. I was amazed after hearing about there being some REALLY steamy scenes in the flick (rumors of wall sex were abounded.) But I was happy to see that wasn’t the case. The movie is a class act all the way through and makes me realize now why the stories are popping up about Johnny Depp wanting to do a remake of The Thin Man. After seeing how well he does in this type of role, I heartily support him.
Check out The Tourist but don’t go in thinking it’s going to be Salt 2.0, or that Johnny Depp will be channeling Jack Sparrow. This is old school and I’m happy to go back to class.