Saturday, 12 March 2011
Starring: Angelina Jolie, Johnny Depp, Paul Bettany, Rufus Sewell, Timothy Dalton, Steven Berkoff
By Alan Bacchus
Considering the immense talent and money involved with The Tourist, its failure is completely shameful. Everyone deserves a naughty slap on the wrist for this picture. Hell, look at the writing credits – three Oscar winners contributed to this stinking coiler.
It’s as bad as everyone says it is – an elegantly shot and designed yet lifeless comic romance spy thriller set in Venice, where an international thief and his gorgeous girlfriend are due to meet up. It’s a teasing opening, during which Elise (Jolie) is given a letter from a courier while she sips coffee at a Paris cafe. The note is from her lover, Alexander Pearce, who tells her to take a train to Venice and befriend a man who looks similar to him to act as an unwitting decoy. With the British authorities and some Eurotrash gangsters hot on her tail, Elise uses Frank (Depp) as her decoy. Frank is a humble high school math teacher on vacation in Europe by himself – as if.
Despite Elise’s angle, there are some sparks between her and Frank, and when the action and chases start, Frank is caught in the fray. He tries to convince the people shooting at him that he’s just a tourist. The twists are telegraphed from the outset and fool no one about how this film will end.
In between, the emotionless performances from Jolie and Depp will have most people falling asleep on that first train ride to Venice. Jolie still seems to be playing the elusive spy Evelyn Salt and Depp’s only bit of business is his goofy muggings from his Tim Burton comedies.
Everyone phones this one in, including co-writer/director von Donnersmarck, who directs his action without any pacing, creativity or inspiration. Even his studio-shot, blue-screened scenes stand out like bad Hitchcock-era process-work.
Even the usually fantastic composer James Newton Howard was smart enough not to waste his good stuff on this picture. His score disappears into the background and brings up little if any of the emotions of the film.
The most annoying part of the whole endeavour is the amount of time wasted by the director, who previously directed the magnificent The Lives of Others. This is the peak creative period for von Donnersmarck, and arguably at least a film and a half is now lost from him. Let’s try and forget this movie ever happened.
The Tourist is available on Blu-ray and DVD from Sony Pictures Home Enterainment