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The Tourist

A 2010 film starring Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie.

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He's Having an Identity Crisis, and She's Just Beautiful

  • Dec 13, 2010
Angelina Jolie’s appearance in “The Tourist” may someday set records for sheer photogenic appeal. She plays one of the most glamorous undercover agents ever to grace the silver screen; her wardrobe, her makeup, and her hair are all immaculate, and for some strange reason, they stay that way all 103 minutes of the film. Even when her character is roughed up by an odious mobster near the end, she still looks as if she has been prepped for a “Vanity Fair” photo shoot. This is, of course, a testament to her beauty as well as to the capable hands of her makeup artists, her hairdressers, and costume designer Colleen Atwood. Credit also to co-writer/director Florian Henkel von Donnersmarck for letting the camera linger on her face and figure a little longer than necessary. He clearly knew what the people wanted to see.
But where does that leave the film itself? Is it supposed to be less about plot and more about serving as an extended fashion show? This is one of the few action thrillers that doesn’t get away with being preposterous, for it doesn’t have the conviction to go all out with it. Unlike Jolie’s previous action film, “Salt,” “The Tourist” is timid and flimsy. The stunts are never daring enough, the romance isn’t passionate enough, and the sense of humor is so reserved that it seems completely out of place. The story is exceedingly simple, pretty much to the point that it barely holds our interest. Worst of all is the lack of onscreen chemistry between Jolie and costar Johnny Depp. The only real credit I can give it is for its beautiful cinematography and breathtaking scenery, the canals and Byzantine architecture of Venice shot with the same care and precision of an Italian tourism commercial.
In the film, Jolie plays Elsie Clifton-Ward, a British beauty who cunningly misleads a federal investigation of her former lover, the unseen Alexander Pearce, a career criminal wanted in many countries by many people. This includes the heatless gangster Reginald Shaw (Steve Berkoff), who he embezzled billions from. Scotland Yard’s Inspector John Acheson (Paul Bettany) has been keeping tabs on Elsie for two years in the desperate hope that she will lead them to Pearce; for reasons never adequately explained, he’s driven to capture the elusive criminal and bring him to justice. Pearce stays in touch with Elsie through a series of handwritten notes, which are delivered in plain but neat white envelopes. Her latest instructions: Board a train from Paris to Venice, and along the way, throw off the authorities by seeking out and befriending a man with Pearce’s height and build.
Here enters Frank Tupelo (Depp), a nervous math teacher from Wisconsin hoping to forget a personal tragedy. He reads a spy novel. He puffs away on an electronic cigarette. He fumbles for his words like a man on his first blind date. Elsie regards Frank calmly, all the while calculating every move. They arrive in Venice. She convinces him to accompany her to a hotel and stay in her luxury suite – and, of course, he’ll have to sleep on the sofa. In the aftermath of an intimate dinner and a few drinks, they kiss on the balcony. The next morning, while Elsie is out, a group of strange men barge into the suite intent on killing Frank, believing he’s Pearce. And so begins the thriller portion of the film, highlighted by awkward action sequences, a contrived romance, and curious sudden appearances by Rufus Sewell. I leave it to you to discover whether or not his character is red herring.
“The Tourist,” a remake of the French film “Anthony Zimmer,” has all the reliable crime thriller clichés, including exotic locations, mobsters, a train ride, a mystery woman, and an apparent case of mistaken identity. It even has Timothy Dalton, although his role doesn’t require him to be James Bond once again; he plays Chief Inspector Jones, who finds Acheson incredibly irritating and seems to take great pleasure in telling him off at the end. But even with all this at hand, something is missing. For something meant to be thrilling, we never quite go beyond the image of Johnny Depp running barefoot across loosely tiled Venetian rooftops. The blood never really pumps. The adrenaline never really rushes. It’s all so flat and tired and insipid – not at all what I expected from a movie like this.
There is, of course, an inevitable plot twist, one that surprised me by not being surprising. Perhaps that was shortsighted on my part. Considering everything that happens, considering what was said, considering what we’re shown, could the film have ended any other way? Crime thrillers are constructed with the intention of misdirecting the audience before revealing the truth. What bothers me is that this movie makes no real effort to trick us; it leads to a conclusion that was obvious from the very start. With no good romantic subplot, with no decent action sequences, and with no engaging plot, what else is there? The more I think about “The Tourist,” the more I return to its star, Angelina Jolie, whose beauty thoroughly overshadows everything else. That’s not much of a compliment for the film itself, but it’s the best I can do.

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December 17, 2010
Aw mannnn....I wanted to see this flick, I thought wooooooowwww....Depp and Jolie, two of the most gorgeous people in film in one together?!!? I've GOT to see it! But, maybe not so much after reading this, it would annoy me that the action scenes fell flat (especially since both Depp and Jolie can do good action) and confuse me that there wasn't any romantic chemistry. Maybe she was afraid that the tabloids would turn it into another Mr & Mrs. Smith? Thanks for saving me money! I'll wait to Netflix it!
December 17, 2010
It's only my opinion, of course. And keep in mind that the film and both the leads have been nominated for Golden Globes.
December 17, 2010
They have?!? Well, it was a slow film year LOL...My best friend REALLY wants to see this, so I might get sucked into the matinee but, I'm not spending more than that LOL....And your opinion was incredibly well written and thoughtful, so it convinced me!
December 13, 2010
Great review, Chris! I dig the title and the review. This sounds like something maybe worth checking out.
December 13, 2010
LOL! I loved the opening paragraph especially...I couldn't stop laughing. I saw this, it was ok, but it is nothing special. Keep them coming, Chris!
More The Tourist (2010 movie) reviews
review by . December 12, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Beautiful People In A Beautiful Place Doing Beautiful Things...
Crime capers or in this case a scheme to “Catch a Thief”. Those who are familiar with Hitchcock’s beloved film know that it wasn’t one of the best Hitchcock movies (God, I punched so many holes in its narrative that it won’t be able to stand up at all) but it was enjoyed primarily because of the lead performers who were Cary Grant and Grace Kelly. Well, director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck’s “The Tourist” is a remake of the 2005 French movie “Anthony …
review by . December 24, 2010
This movie was aggressively mediocre, pretty much nothing but a star vehicle for Johnny and Angelina. For those who don't know what a star vehicle is, it's a movie that has nothing going for it other than the celebrity of one or two leading actors. If two different actors were cast in the roles of Frank and Elise, then this movie would be worse than 0%. That being said, it wasn't a good movie, not even close.      I like Johnny Depp and Paul Bettany, but I cannot …
review by . November 19, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
For those of you who know me even a little, you are aware I adore Johnny Depp and I despise Angelina Jolie.  The movie itself, based on what I have read, sounds like it could be pretty well action-packed, but why in the hell did they have to put Depp with HER?  Sorry if I have insulted Jolie fans, but I just do not like her; never have, never will.      I will admit she looks good in the trailer and in photos; I am not blind after all.  Depp looks hotter than hell …
review by . July 14, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Angelina Jolie is the girlfriend of a mysterious man who is wanted by both Interpol and some very bad Mafia guys (led by the guy who played Victor Maitland in Beverly Hills Cop). While she is having her breakfast at an outdoor cafe, a letter is delivered to her. The letter is from her boyfriend who tells her to go to the train station to a train going to Italy and try to meet a stranger that is the same height and build as he is. This will make Interpol think the stranger is her boyfriend and throw …
review by . February 25, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
After I kissed YOU!
Who’d have guessed what a lunch with a stranger whom one met on the Intercity train could turn into? Other than the promise of romance and adventure, right? Well, sometimes being too optimistic can be treacherous…       In The Tourist, as a tourist what would one look for? Venice, one of the most romantic cities in the world if not the most romantic, is a great place to visit and since I had been there almost 2 decades ago, this brings back a lot of fond memories. …
review by . February 05, 2012
Not a great movie
Angelina Jolie stars as Elise, an alluring and mysterious woman whose every move is being watched by Interpol. Knowing that, she boards a train for Venice and picks up an unsuspecting tourist (Johnny Depp) who quickly falls in love, is arrested, and has to run for his life.      I liked the beginning of this movie, thanks to Johnny Depp's' sweet portrayal of a mousey math teacher who naively speaks Spanish to Italians and can't believe his luck in meeting the glamorous …
review by . December 11, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
A Mediocre Vacation
THE TOURIST Written by Florian Henckel von Donnersmark, Christopher McQuarrie and Jullian Fellowes Directed by Florian Henckel von Donnersmark Starring Johnny Depp, Angelina Jolie, Paul Bettany and Timothy Dalton   Frank Tupelo: You’re ravenous Elise Clifton-Ward: Do you mean ravishing? Frank: Yes, I do. Elise: You’re ravenous   Some poor sap of a math teacher from Wisconsin is sitting on a train en route to Venice from Paris when it happens.  A devastatingly …
review by . December 13, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
For some reason with so much star power and Oscar winners working on the script I somehow expected more from this movie. But now it seems the reason this movie was signed on by so many was for a paid vacation to Venice. Not to say I blame them, but I would hesitate before I indulge their fantasies, unless of course you want to get away a little yourself.      This is a classic tale of a female temptress and a bumbling hero. Angelina Jolie fills the role, and every part of her …
review by . June 05, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
12A - 103mins - Action/Drama/Romance - 10th December 2010      Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie, star in this action romance as Frank and Elise. Whilst on a vacation to Italy to recover from a broken heart, Frank a maths teacher, is minding his own business on a train when Elsie sits opposite him. They strike up a bond and Frank thinks its his lucky day when he runs into her later. Unfortunately for him, this is not a chance encounter but rather a scheme by Elise to use him …
review by . December 22, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
   The Tourist? Maybe The Borefest! This movie is nowhere near being disappointing it just suck from start to finish. First of all, the story is full of cliches and bad lines. The characters could not make something remarkable thanks to the bad development. The dialogue in this film is not just poor but lame and forced. The pacing is also something that enrages the viewer. It really gets dull and boring. Too many scenes having nothing important to show but only pretty faces and long (could …
About the reviewer
Chris Pandolfi ()
Ranked #5
Growing up a shy kid in a quiet suburb of Los Angeles, Chris Pandolfi knows all about the imagination. Pretend games were always the most fun for him, especially on the school playground; he and his … more
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The Tourist is a 2010 thriller film directed by Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, starring Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp. It is a remake of the 2005 French film Anthony Zimmer.

Director: Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck
Writer: Julian Fellowes
Studio: Columbia Pictures
Cast: Johnny Depp, Angelina Jolie, Paul Bettany

Release: December 10, 2010
Poster art for "The Tourist"
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Genre: Thriller
Release Date: December 10, 2010
Screen Writer: Julian Fellowes
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