Elisa (Jolie) is a sleek, overdressed woman of mystery who is being stalked by a tenacious British detective (Bettany). When she boards a train from Paris to Venice, his men are in hot pursuit, so she sidles up to American touristFrank (Depp) to throw them off the scent. He looks similar to her boyfriend, who's wanted by the cops and a vicious Russian mobster (Berkoff). Once in Venice, Frank finds his world turned upside both by this ludicrously elegant woman and the army of goons pursuing him at every turn.
The film is based on the playful Hitchcock-style 2005 French thriller Anthony Zimmer, but instead plays it as a silly romp that has absolutely no tension in it at all. We never for a moment think that Jolie will muss her hair or crinkle one of those evening gowns, or that Depp will lose his blank-eyed, mop-headed charm. Actually, only Depp bothers to create a hint of personality; Jolie plays Elise like a pouting supermodel in every scene.
Against them, Bettany has the comedy role as the flabbergasted guy just trying to do his job amid pressure from his short-tempered boss (Dalton). It's all so relentlessly thin that this surely was the filmmakers' intention all along.
Either that or Hollywood meddled heavily in the process.There's a certain racy charm to the film's first act, with some smart gags and well-staged encounters.
But everything is so over-explained that we never have a chance to put ourselves into Frank's predicament, and the story starts to sag under all the overstatement.
And as things progress, the script simply refuses to go beneath the surface, settling for some snappy dialog and lovely locations. It also abandons the promising sizzle between Depp and Jolie for the requirements of the plot involving the Russians and the British, none of which generates much interest.
And in the end, the film merely feels like a shiny red herring.
Run time: 103 mins
In Theaters: Friday 10th December 2010
Box Office USA: $67.6M
Box Office Worldwide: $278.3M
Distributed by: Columbia Pictures
Production compaines: Spyglass Entertainment, GK Films, StudioCanal, Birnbaum/Barber, Cineroma SRL, Peninsula Films, Italian Tax Credit, French Tax Credit
Contactmusic.com: 2.5 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 20%
Fresh: 33 Rotten: 134
IMDB: 6.0 / 10
Director: Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck
Starring: Johnny Depp as Frank Tupelo, Angelina Jolie as Elise Clifton-Ward, Paul Bettany as Inspector John Acheson, Timothy Dalton as Chief Inspector Jones, Steven Berkoff as Reginald Shaw, Rufus Sewell as English man, Christian De Sica as Colonnello Lombardi, Alessio Boni as Sergente Cerato, Daniele Pecci as Tenente Narduzzi
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