Sunday, December 26, 2010

Strangers on a Train

The biggest mystery about The Tourist isn't the whereabouts of the guy people think Johnny Depp's character is. It's how a movie with so much going for it could be so disappointing. Depp stars as Frank, a Wisconsin math teacher, who innocently meets the mysterious Elise (Angelina Jolie) on board a train en route to Venice. Elise involves Frank in a plot to distract some mobsters and some British Interpol agents, but something goes wrong and of course, the two fall for each other. It all unfolds on land and water in the Italian city, and the film was directed by Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, director of the Oscar-winning film The Lives of Others.

Sounds intriguing (mostly), but I just didn't buy it. I'm not sure exactly when the film lost its credibility, but it had to be around the part when Depp revealed himself as the most stylish, sophisticated, athletic, and resourceful math teacher of all time — and he's from Wisconsin to boot! Is there any reason for him to fall in love with someone who has put his life in danger, even if she looks like Angelina Jolie? Of course not. So I don't mind telling you that the "twist" at the end couldn't be any more predictable. And as moviegoers, we're left wondering why Depp, Jolie, et al didn't just stay home instead of taking this ill-fated trip. I'm giving The Tourist a C–.

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