Review: The Tourist

The Tourist (2010)
103 minutes
Rated PG-13
Directed by Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck
Starring: Johnny Depp, Angelina Jolie

Grade: C-

There is something terribly wrong with The Tourist and I’m astounded how no one in production of this film picked up on it. There is a lot of talent within this film. The director, Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, write, directed and co-produced The Lives of Others, which went on to win the Best Foreign Language Film at the Oscars (over Pan’s Labyrinth). Co-writers Christopher McQuarrie (The Usual Suspects) and Julian Fellowes (Gosford Park) have proven themselves more than worthy to write a smart, compelling screenplay. And we all know the talents of stars Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie. So what the hell went wrong?

The Tourist is a film surrounding a mystery… well a lot of mysteries. For a part of the film, we don’t know who Elise’s (Jolie) really is. We keep hearing the name Alexander Pearce, but we’re never told anything about his besides the fact he’s a criminal and that he’s Elise’s former lover. And then we meet Frank (Depp) who is the innocent ploy in Elise’s cat-and-mouse game.

But wait! The mafia is involved and they want Pearce dead. When they see Elise and Frank lock lips, they assume Frank is Pearce and chase him through the streets of Venice. Also, Elise is working for the British police! What? Who? Why? Who knows?

What we have here is a film that is confused by its own identity, which is quite ironic once you watch the film. Anyway, there are bits of a romance film between Elise and Frank, bits of an action film, a lot of mystery and crime, and a failing attempt at comedy. Depp and Jolie never share a glimpse of chemistry throughout the film and that almost made the film painful to watch. If there was anything to take away from this film, it’s the beautiful shots of Venice and Paris.

There are twists and turns throughout the whole movie, but I never became invested in the characters or the ridiculous plot to have these surprises impact me. What we have here is a very colorful and luscious film that could serve as a video-brochure for these tourist sites. Other than that, don’t waste your time with this film.

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