The Tourist (2010)
The Tourist (2010)

Genre: Thriller Running Time: 1 hr. 43 min.

Release Date: December 10th, 2010 MPAA Rating: PG-13

Director: Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck Actors: Angelina Jolie, Johnny Depp, Paul Bettany, Timothy Dalton, Steven Berkoff




t starts with plenty of close-ups of Angelina Jolie’s face (and then her rear) as if each shot is a pose for the movie poster. Throughout the film, the camera sticks closely by, intent on capturing each angle of her beauty, while many random characters gaze at her longingly, hinging their actions on her every move (interestingly, there are no other female characters in the film to dilute her floodlight sexuality). The bit parts and major roles are captivated by her, but her character was only cleverly written at the introduction – as the film progresses, she becomes more and more like a typical damsel in distress, only half as capable as her previous independent lady, Salt. In many ways, “The Tourist” could have been another chapter in the CIA agent’s life, or even altered slightly to become a sequel.

In Paris, France, Elise Clifton-Ward (Angelina Jolie) strolls to a café where she is being carefully watched by the Metropolitan Police. A surveillance team studies her movements, certain that she’ll be contacted by the elusive Alexander Pearce, an ex-banker who swindled a powerful gangster out of $2.3 billion. The mobster, Reginald Shaw (Steven Berkoff), journeys back into town with a vengeance when he’s tipped off that Pearce is returning.

To complicate matters, Elise boards a train to lose her tail and targets an American, the inexperienced, spy-novel-reading, Madison Community College math teacher Frank Tupelo (Johnny Depp), as a decoy. After the movie’s only clever exchange of dialogue, involving Frank stumbling over words while Elise spoon feeds him a line of seduction with her calm and controlled manner and poise (which mirrors a moment between Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint in a similar location in “North By Northwest”), she whisks him back to her hotel. The fantasy is over the following morning when he awakes to discover he’s being mistaken for Pearce – Scotland Yard’s Inspector John Acheson (Paul Bettany) is hot on his trail, along with Shaw and his gang of well-dressed cutthroats.

“Why is everyone trying to kill me?” exclaims Tupelo, the protagonist in a classic “wrong man” scenario. It could have something to do with the fact that he’s in a boring, predictable, and contrived movie. “The Tourist” tries to blend a desperate romance, James Bond imitation adventure, and light action comedy, having no success with the combination or any of the pieces individually. The most suspenseful scenes involve Depp and Jolie kissing; the villain gets his obligatory instant of offing his own incompetent lackey; and a love song chimes in at the most inconvenient moment.

The chemistry is nonexistent, the supporting roles don’t come any more generic, and too many laughable occasions arise from the characters laboring dramatically to be intense. Through these efforts, “The Tourist” repeatedly destroys any chance at being taken seriously. It’s no wonder the production involved multiple directors, several versions of the script, and quite a few actors getting attached to – and dropping out of – the film before Depp, Jolie, and director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck became permanent. It’s an embarrassment to see filmmakers of such high caliber collaborating on dreadful material like this.

– Mike Massie

  • 4/10