11 June 2011

Film Review

I don't normally do reviews, but I feel moved to tell you about the film I watched last night.

I need to begin this account a few months ago when we installed our wood burning stove in the living room.  Many years before, we had dithered over the choice between a real fire and a big plasma TV.  I was keen on the big telly but my wife was less than enthusiastic.  The man in the fireplace shop was the one who swung it.  "You don't want a real fire" he advised "they're smelly and sooty and make your whole house dirty."  Coming from a man who earned his livelihood selling fires, this was impossible to ignore and the plasma telly got the nod.

It was a mistake.  I admit it.  I repented, but only after several years of having it pointed out to me every day.

The wood burner was installed (by a more enthusiastic retailer) and the plasma telly had to make way, or be melted.

For a while, we made do with my daughter's bedroom TV but she returned home triumphantly from University and reclaimed it.  I went down to the local Comet and bought a new one which I chose on the basis that it seemed to have the brightest picture.  When I got it home it turned out to be an LED, whatever that might be, and HD.  I know what HD is, I already have a method of watching HD television.  It consists of wearing special glasses which the optician sold me alongside my reading glasses so that my far vision could be improved. Prior to that, there was the unfortunate episode involving bifocals, but I won't go into all that as need to get to the film review before I run out of blog.

Where was I?  Oh yes, buying a new DVD player to go with the TV.  I remember even if you don't.  This turned out to be BluRay and I suddenly became quite excited at the prospect of a HD LED TV coupled with a BluRay player and special HD super glasses.  What an exceptional viewing experience that might be.

With all the hardware installed and working, I popped down to Tesco to see what BluRay had to offer and was a little disappointed to find that I had seen most of the films on offer in that format.  There was one that I hadn't seen, though, and this caught my eye.  On the back of the packaging it had two recommendatory quotations.  "A sexy glamorous thriller" from the People and "a witty and suspenseful thriller" from the Daily Star.  The leading actors were Angelina Jolie, who, apart from being quite nice looking, was excellent in The Changeling, and Johnny Depp who I rather like, particular when he is doing his Keith Richards impression.  The screenplay was credited to three people, including Christopher McQuarrie who wrote The Usual Suspects.  It was quite beyond me how I had missed the opportunity to enjoy this masterpiece in the theatrical setting it so obviously deserved.  I quickly remedied the situation by parting with £14.99.

The Tourist.  That's the name of the film.  Remember it, you may be grateful that you did one day.

Anyway, the review.  Well, its crap.  Really crap.

There you are, I said I didn't do much in the way of film reviews, now you know why. 

I could tell you all the really bad bits in it but that would take too long.  The whole film depends on the viewer not spotting that Johnny Depp is actually the hero in disguise.  Although we all realise it the moment he appears on screen, Johnny acts throughout as if this important piece of information was never revealed to him. Which is a problem.

The establishment of Steven Berkhoff as the villian is in keeping with the rest of the film.  We first meet him on a plane where he is observing two henchmen playing poker.  "He's fluttering his eyes like a baby" he observes, "it's his tell, go all in."  Only a really evil mastermind would be so cruel as to spoil a game of cards he wasn't even involved in.  It comes as no surprise when we learn that he has not only murdered all the men that his wife slept with before he married her but, when he found out just how numerous these were, killed her as well.

There you are, stupid and pointless.  Like the film.

The director, who also claims a share of the blame for the hopeless script, is a man who calls himself Florian Henckel Von Donnersmarck.

Watch out for him.