Dropout UK @ The Tourist, Private Press Screening, Leicester Square
High Expectations From Big Name Cast
Standing in the crowded lobby of West End London's Odeon, I wait impatiently for the the doors of The Tourist screening room to swing open. Loud murmurings and recognisable excitement filter through the room – dispersed between the clinking of glasses and the smell of over-priced popcorn. A movie that can boast such big names as Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp commands fevered anticipation and, certainly from the awaiting press, it's receiving just that.
A while later, I sit and watch as the auditorium fills up – people have arrived early to snatch away the best seats at the showing – and despite the slightly agitated wail of 'there's a free bar, and people are just sitting in here!', the reporters look on, pen and paper in hand, ready and waiting.
I am personally very excited about seeing The Tourist – Jolie and Depp have long been two of my favourite Hollywood faces and, despite being slightly taken aback when I heard about their pairing for the film, am looking forward to seeing the chemistry they create on screen. I cross my fingers for a well-acted, emotional and slightly quirky plot that stays with me long after the final credits. The lights dim...I settle back.
The Tourist is fairly trans-genre cat and mouse affair, darting in between comedy, action and romance without ever really settling. It is also very much a film of two halves. Undeniably predictable for the first 30 – 45 minutes, relief comes in a few surprising twists midway that take the film in a different direction – and ultimately save the storyline. My reaction to the film changed dramatically after these scenes, and I left the film feeling pleasantly surprised, despite almost writing it off following the first 20 minutes.
The main downfall of this film is the way in which it limits its actors. Jolie is unable to deepen her character's personality - the altogether aloof and untouchable sense that surrounds her Elise is apparent throughout and continually impenetrable. Disappointment also comes in the form of Depp's character – an actor that has played such varied parts carries an unspoken promise of depth with him – yet his Frank never strays beyond the quietly awkward – he is undistinguishable, uncharismatic and clueless. Vital for the plot, yet unenjoyable to watch, you can't help feeling that these parts could have been played by anyone – with the two stars being used for audience pulling-power rather than ability.
The film however, does deserves a certain amount of credit for it's costumes and cinematography. Set in Venice, the scenes make full use of the cities rambling waterways and winding alleys, with chases spanning the length and breadth of the Venetian streets. The suites inside the hotels Elise and Frank find themselves in are breath-taking in appearance whilst Jolie's costumes are noticeably elegant – the gown she wears to the Ball is a gorgeous touch, and her array of daywear gives nods to all the right designers.
As the film draws to a close, the rustling of seats becomes deafening and by the time the lights come up, many people have already spilt into the aisles. As the audience leave the Odeon, an underwhelmed tone hits the streets – criticism is thrown back and forth between the press as their disappointed faces move on . Phrases such as 'like a puppet show' and 'almost appalling' are carried on the breeze and, despite the odd happy-go-lucky individual that quips about the film's 'easy, watchable fun', most seem disheartened. Faced with this sense of uneasy reflection the groups slowly disperse, the memories of The Tourist fading with them.
The Tourist is a production I will tentatively recommend. An audience with a love for lighthearted comedy and snippets of romance will enjoy it, whilst people looking for something deeper or darker are advised that the plot change is just enough to warrant wading through it's tedious first section. All in all, the film gives just enough, but should have given a whole lot more.
The Tourist will be at cinemas nationwide from tomorrow.