For all that star power...

2011-01-10 00:00

YOU would think all the ingredients are there: Johnny Depp, Angelina Jolie and director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck (who made Oscar-winning foreign film of 2006, Germany’s The Lives of Others). Throw in a support cast of Paul Bettany, Rufus Sewell and Timothy Dalton, place the whole cast and crew in Venice, and surely it can’t get any better.

Yet, the cliché holds true: it’s all about the story and a good screenplay … which has about as many twists and turns as a Paul Harris delivery.

Jolie plays Elise, a mysterious British woman, who is watched by both the good guys and the bad guys, including Scotland Yard, Interpol and various mafia types.

She decides to strike up a conversation with a rather sad-looking guy named Frank (Depp) on a train, who turns out to be a maths teacher.

She then leads Depp around Venice as a decoy to her pursuers, but it all weaves along tediously slowly. Conversations in the audience continued in whispered tones … clearly not altogether enthralled by the story.

A very thin Jolie carries herself with elegant, if distant, poise, and looks slightly other-worldly … in a weird, alien sort of way. Depp, on the other hand, looks constantly bemused and puzzled throughout most of his dialogue, which is probably how most audiences have responded to this film.

Alas, while it’s not altogether terrible, the film doesn’t quite live up to the expectations of its star power and potential. Take note, film-makers: a bad script with poor dialogue is often difficult to salvage, even with a big budget and the hottest stars in Hollywood. ***

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