The Tourist

2011-03-04 17:20
 
The Tourist
What it's about:

In Paris, a mysterious woman named Elise (Angelina Jolie) is being tracked by Scotland Yard in the hopes that she will lead them to her ex-lover Alexander Pearce, a man wanted for - of all things - tax evasion. With instructions from Pearce to take a train to Venice, Elise ensnares a lone American tourist, Frank (Johnny Depp) in her plot to reunite with Pearce and make away with the money he stole from a gangster.

What we thought:

I have a confession to make: somewhere during The Tourist press screening, I took a little nap. Between Johnny Depp's character being detained by Italian police and taking off in a speedboat through the canals of Venice with the bad guys in hot pursuit, I lost track of everything. And, I know, people usually exaggerate and say they "fell asleep" during a movie they didn't enjoy. But I was well and truly at an early stage of REM sleep before I was rudely awoken by the sound of gunfire. It was kind of frightening.

Mostly because I was rather looking forward to The Tourist, as you probably are too. How can you not be? It's got Angelina Jolie, looking regal and in-command, opposite the only other actor who could possibly be considered her equal in star quality, Johnny Depp. Coupled with the intriguing plot, breathtaking European locations and the promise of simmering sexual tension, The Tourist has all the right ingredients.

Things get off to a good start. Elise boards a train, locks eyes with Frank, flirts in that way that makes men uncomfortably turned on. It's very sexy, rather creepy. And even as the plot, as such, takes turns here and there, it's as if the movie never quite left the train station.

Make no mistake - The Tourist is a curious, snoozy dud.

It's just too cool in tone, too self-aware to even attempt to make it an enjoyable experience for anyone still paying attention beyond the opening 15 minutes. Each time Jolie is wheeled out in glamorous costume after glamorous costume, it sort of starts to become an indicator that the most interesting part of the next scene will be whatever Jolie happens to be wearing. "Doesn't she look great?" the movie appears to ask every few minutes. And, you know what, she really does. Watch how she seems to glide along the cobbled streets of Paris with the same grace as when she's being chased through Venice by armed baddies in an evening gown (seriously, how does she carry herself so well in 6-inch heels?) So the costume designer earns The Tourist one extra star.

Of course, there is more to the movie, and very little of value. Depp is charming yet still keeps it quirky (how can he not?) in a role that doesn't really ask much of him, other than to let his leading lady shine. Paul Bettany provides some light entertainment as the British agent who can't quite catch his man, but is perhaps too hapless in this role. And then there's the cloak and dagger air of mystique that seems to waft over everything, promising that something truly special will reveal itself aroung the next corner. As if everything that came before was dull and unremarkable for a reason; a big payoff is brewing.

What makes The Tourist especially disappointing is that it was directed by the man behind one of the most impressive war movies in recent memory - 2006 German Cold War drama The Lives of Others. Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck won an Oscar for that movie and seems to have brought that same deliberate and rather aloof style to a movie that would actually have benifitted greatly from a little less focus and lots more fun. The plot is so ludicrous - in the way that movies about sexy, globe-trotting thieves tend to be - it's a shame that the writers (Oscar winners, all of them) wouldn't let us in on the joke too.

Do Jolie and Depp have good onscreen chemistry? Yes, in that they both seem to greatly respect one another as actors - an overrated courtesy if it's going to result in stiff, awkward scenes of unintersting dialogue, followed by maybe-kissing, leading to maybe-sex. Actors had more fun making whoopie in the 50s, and they weren't allowed to suggest nearly as much.

The Tourist turns out to be more hard work than it needs to be. The pacing is messy and frustrating and never seems to settle into itself. So many scenes actually invite you to rest your eyes for a minute while it figures things out. It's a definite missed opportunity, with so much talent put to work for so little reward. A great pity.

Angelina Jolie looks amazing, everyone else is dull, dull, dull in a leaden mystery-romance that never gets its story straight.
Read more on:    johnny depp  |  angelina jolie  |  review  |  movies

Renee 2011/01/07 11:54 AM
But but but it looks so good! I have no faith in Hollywood anymore :(
Themba 2011/01/07 12:18 PM
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Have to agree with the critics on this one. I too fell asleep between the time Depp was in police custody and the time of the great revelation. You always knew what the revelation was going to be. This movie is supposed to be like "The Usual Suspects" but it fails miserable and this is not the fault of Jolie or Depp as they both had to do with a flimsy and slow story. This movie needed speed as Salt was, as well as fun as you get in Pirates of the Carribean. Instead, it meandered all over the place denying 3 of the best actors an opportunity to shine.
Marc 2011/01/08 11:41 AM
Is The Tourist a great movie, is it more or less like SALT... ANSWER: NO NO NO NO RATHER WATCH SALT
Colin 2011/01/08 6:26 PM
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I enjoyed it
Trish 2011/01/09 4:45 PM
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Very disappointing movie. I agree completely with the review. Don't waste your time on this.
jason 2011/01/09 6:28 PM
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Good critique, I enjoyed reading it, even if i rather liked the slower pace of the movie - it lends itself to Europe and venice in particular. Another high speed boat chase would have had ME yawning into my Slush Puppy.
Marc 2011/01/10 1:48 PM
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Very good
Lungile 2011/01/11 11:11 AM
I enjoyed the movie and so did my partner and everyone in that cinema
Yeti 2011/01/11 11:33 AM
Lungile, did you take a survey at the end of the movie to check if everyone in the cinema enjoyed it too? I don't see how else you could speak for everyone else.
ash 2011/01/12 10:14 AM
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waste of time..also nodded off...predictable ending
Corra 2011/01/12 3:00 PM
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I have to commend the filmmakers on this movie. I haven't slept that well in years.
straight 2011/01/17 8:58 AM
nice
Lenovoguy 2011/01/24 1:05 PM
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Don't waste your money at the cinema. rather wait for the DVD or whatever. The movie was very disappointing.
Nita 2011/02/18 3:02 PM
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Angie wasn't made for this role, to be honest, I think this was her worst movie yet (not that it was her fault!) I literally fell asleep in the cinema. Sorry Angelina and Johnny, but this is how I feel. I think we are all use to Angelina being busy and trying to save the world, but no thanx. This one was not for me
Kagiso 2011/03/06 1:50 PM
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the storyline was very disappointing. it's such a pity: high profile actors in a bad movie. sadly this film will receive a double thumbs down from me.
Genevieve 2011/12/12 9:20 AM
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Very disappointing and boring, boring. Can't believe it was Johnny Depp! The acting was awful..his worst movie ever...both of their worst movies ever. But am still a huge fan.
Angela 2011/12/12 1:24 PM
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Terrible movie. I felt so sorry for Johnny Depp the poor man was trying so hard to make his character more interesting. At times it felt like he was throwing in a bit of kooky Jack Sparrow. Grasping at straws.
Yeti 2012/01/12 2:24 PM
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Seems you guys and dolls haven't understood the story, did you actually listen? Try the 'quotes' on the relevant website. And look for what they need to display, as in real terms, not as in show terms.
Heidi 2012/03/23 10:23 AM
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I liked it!
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