Elise (Angelina Jolie) sits next to an American tourist, Frank (Johnny Depp), on a train going to Venice. She has chosen him as a decoy, making believe that he is her lover who is wanted by police. Not only will they need to evade the police, but also the mobster whose money her lover stole. Written by
Douglas Young (the-movie-guy)
Even with the logistical challenges the city of Venice presented, it was easy to sell the filmmakers on the location. Executive Producer Lloyd Phillips explained: "You really never know what Venice is about. It has so many faces. The architecture is so unique. The light is like nowhere else in the world. It bounces off the canals onto windows in such a magical way. This film is filled with twists and turns, and that intrigue, along with the combination of the character of the city, is a perfect marriage." See more »
On the train schedule board Venice is spelled Venise. See more »
Ignore the trailers... and the critics. This isn't a thriller, and it never tries to be. It is, wholeheartedly, a comedy. Anyone who missed that must have been watching a different film, because it's funny - in fact, it's hysterical. But not because it's "so bad it's good". No, it's totally intentional. The lines are funny, the pauses are funny, the actors are funny... it's like a younger, slightly subtler, Venetian version of Red. What's not to like?
We're all used to seeing Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie in dramatic roles - Finding Neverland, Public Enemies, The Changeling, A Mighty Heart... and it's so easy to forget that they can be funny. But they are, both of them. Johnny shines, as he always does. Angelina Jolie looks glorious, and when she smiles, the screen lights up. They don't have chemistry, critics say. Oh yes, they do, I say. More importantly, they seem to be enjoying themselves.
Johnny's Frank is delightful, touching and slightly mysterious. He has endless room to play around, and makes Frank memorable, and lovely, as only Johnny can. Angelina's role is more limiting, but she still makes it fresh and - yes - deeply amusing, parodying both herself and the genre in general. Watching her saunter around on her high heels, one can't help but recall what James Bond used to be like. This isn't Wanted or Salt: she has far more to do here than look cryptic and shoot people, and she does it very well.
Add to that the utterly magnificent Paul Bettany, Timothy Dalton, a few stereotypically dim Russian gangsters (they speak actual Russian, for once, and their funniest lines aren't subtitled) and Rufus Sewell, and there's no way you can go wrong.
Yes, there's a twist at the end - a twist that seemed to annoy most people. But does that take away from the film? No! It adds to it, because it's just so obvious, and natural, that it's all the funnier for it.
This isn't an intellectual film. Nor does it try to be. It's a romp, a fun romp with two beautiful, endlessly talented actors, set in a beautiful city (which is shot so beautifully that it becomes like a separate character). So who cares how intellectual it is? This is a film that's genuinely entertaining, from start to finish. And if it's snowing where you are, you'll certainly appreciate the sunshine. Give it a chance!
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