What’s going on?
Why is a a tourist and visitor information site reviewing a popular hollywood film? In short, because the action is based in Venice. Don’t worry, our perspective is firmly focussed on the Venetian and Italian aspects, though we probably cannot resist a few general comments regarding the plot and acting.
The film starts in Paris, but main protaganist Angelina Jolie, is soon on the Eurostar bound for Venice, on which she meets Depp. The Eurostar is shown speeding through the Italian countryside, before more or less immediately arriving at the railway causeway, alongside the road one opened by Mussolini, that connects Venice with the mainland. And that is the first bit of geographic inaccuracy. For in reality, the nearest countryside is before the train arrives in Padova, 20 mins previously, and from Padova onwards, it is very built up. The train would also stop at Mestre rather than leaping from countryside to Venice. But that would not make a good movie at all.
The next part of the action takes place in the five star Hotel Danieli, which is close to St.Marks Square and the bridge of sighs (or signs as it is nicknamed due to its present coverage with advertising!). The hotel Danieli, whose bar is shown in our caption photo for this article, is a classic five star hotel with beautiful views of the lagoon. The dining room where Depp has dinner with Jolie looks authentic, but the view where Depp looks out the window of their suite and you can see Rialto Bridge is very definitely poetic license.
Views of Venice
Much of the rest of the action takes place around Venice, and there are some beautiful views of the city as well as the canals and lagoon. Don’t make the mistake of thinking the airport is quite as close and convenient as the film makes out either: it is quite convenient but not located in the city centre!
Italian style and fashion
More than anything, the film showcases the Italian lifestyle in terms of designer dressing and fashion. The characters are dressed in sharp Armani suits and Bulgari abounds, never mind the canal-side dinner settings and clinking of Campari. In addition, the Italian characters in the film are portrayed by famous Italian actors.
There is just enough of a plot and narrative thread to keep one’s interest, but the film is let down by the wooden characters portrayed Depp and Jolie. Both can act and have done so brilliantly in other settings, so it’s a shame Jolie is reduced to a two dimensional femme fatale and Depp an emotionally retentive character. Jolie’s best moment is probably provided by the obligatory boat chase down canals and across the lagoon, where it looks like she is handling the launch with expertise.
Depp enjoys a rooftop chase, reminding us that that was indeed the modus operandi of many infamous Venetian cat burglars in the past, but Depp does it in dalylight, in his pyjamas no less. Apart from this, the film portrays the French police as incompetent, the English as only interested in ticking the ‘crime solved’ box, and the Italian police as corrupt. Plus ca change.
Throw in some romance, an expected twist as a finale and you have a fairly typical Hollywood movie set in the splendour of Venice.
Verdict: not worth seeing as an action movie in its own right but if, like us, you are interested in Venice, the extra dimension adds a reason to go see it.
For more information on Angelina Jolie or to see the movie trailer click here
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