By the Sea

Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt gamble on emulating vintage arthouse cinema — and lose

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie in 'By the Sea.' Credit: Universal Pictures

Writer-director Angelina Jolie's attempt to emulate European art cinema is a slow, sodden, stupefyingly dull take on a 1970s marriage gone bad. Jolie plays Nessa, and her husband, Brad Pitt, is Nessa's husband, Roland. The Pitts, it must be said, suffer gorgeously. Vacationing at a swank hotel in Malta, they spy through a peephole at newlyweds next door (Mélanie Laurent and Melvil Poupaud). Nessa and Roland barely talk. When they finally do, you pray they'll shut up. "I smell fish," Nessa says, sniffing. Nah. What stinks is the movie.