Saturday, December 11, 2010

The Tourist

€9.00 will get you a ticket for The Tourist at the nearest cinema to the Irish Film Portal. Take a left after the windmill and it's a twenty minute drive. You pays your money, as the saying goes, and you takes your chances.

The Tourist is one of those films that turns 100+ minutes of the viewer's life into a vacuum. The producers have employed the talents of many really creative people like chemical properties in a laboratory, but they cannot replicate someone else's successful experiment.

This is what Hollywood does. And when it does it in Europe, using the template of an original French film, it tends to stray so wide of the mark that you can't help hoping that a new generation of movie brats are plotting the downfall of the rickety Hollywood edifice with this century's Easy Rider.

As The Tourist unspooled before me I couldn't help being reminded of Leap Year. It wasn't the producers' signature title telescope. Nor was it that it also had a tacked-on British Oscar-winning writer in Julian Fellowes - Simon Beaufoy had a similar uncredited role on Leap Year.

Nor yet was it thst it also had a very talented European director in Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, and a highly talented cast. It was a little of all of these things but mostly it was its attitude.

Take some scenic locations, add some funny accents and local colour, use a vaporetto instead of a Renault 4 and what's not to like?

Of course when you're a supposedly educated American character in Italy you speak Spanish, but who's being made fun of? Really?

Only Johnny Depp could sell that dummy and get away with it in Europe. In America, where they need a Paris, France navigation title, it's a joke on who exactly?

I don't know if France and Italy collaborated with The Tourist in the same way that Ireland did with Leap Year. We ponied up €13m for that cultural travesty but one of the the pay-offs is supposedly measurable in the numbers of tourists who will seek to experience the world of the film in this country.

Venice's Rialto Bridge and Inis Mór's Dún Aonghasa are two of the most iconic locations in Europe. Seeing them rendered down as a sort of national product placement is more than a little dispiriting.

Perhaps I should just get over it. Ok, any offers for Newgrange? Start with a meet cute on December 21st, call it Sunrise.

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