There's so much wrong with this movie that it's extremely difficult knowing where to start. "The Tourist" stars Johnny Depp as Frank Tupelo, an American math teacher who finds himself running from Russian mobsters in Venice after a woman named Elise, played by Angelina Jolie, chooses him on a train in order to fool the London Police into thinking that he is indeed the real Alexander Pierce, a criminal withholding 744 million pounds in illegal assets. Did you get all that? If not, don't worry because the film's on the nose writing makes the plot apparent over and over again. At a cafe in Paris via a letter is where Elise first gets instructions from the real Alexander Pierce to pick someone in "similar height and build" as himself. The camera focuses on the letter like a silent film just in case anyone in the audience is deaf. Right before Elise meets Frank for the first time she scans the onboard train passengers and we hear voice over: "similar height and buildâ¦.". I can only assume voice over is used just in case anyone watching is blind. Then later in the film Frank is arrested and just in case anyone suffers from short-term memory loss he reiterates the entire plot to an officer. Oh come on! Director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck (heehee) seems to confuse catering to one's audience with treating them like five year olds. It's either that or he's just very considerate of the handicapped. And if blatant obviousness isn't insult enough the script "surprises" us with one of the most preposterous endings in recent memory.
Dozens of hokey scripts are remarkably given the greenlight in Hollywood; the difference with this film is the extreme criminal misuse of its ridiculously talented cast. Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie are arguably the biggest and sexiest stars on the planet so one would think putting them together in a romantic-comedy-action film would be a no-brainer smash hit. Disappointingly, "The Tourist" is rarely funny, unromantic, and the action sequences so devoid of adrenaline that a Barbie Doll would be offended. In one particular scene the mob shoots at Frank and Elise as they escape on a pair of motorboats. They might as well have used rowboats as I swear I saw a family of snails slide right past them. The audience is repeatedly reminded of how attractive Jolie is, but nowhere to be found is the Tomb-Raiding, Wanted, Salty Jolie. If Donnersmarck just wanted someone to stand there and look pretty he could have employed a statue. Just watch the film and you can almost feel Angelina Jolie's lack of interest in being coerced into a project gone terribly wrong. As for the rest of the cast, Johnny Depp replaces his usual antics with minimalism when eccentricity might have actually lended a hand to the film's lack of spunk. Paul Bettany is placed in another supporting role not worthy of his skill and 007 himself, Timothy Dalton, makes two appearances, one to say this operation is over, and two, to say this operation is over.
Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck is a gifted filmmaker whose 2006 art-house drama, The Lives of Others
took home the Oscar for best foreign film. But in an attempt to helm a Hitchcockian wrong-man suspense movie, he strays too far from his talents mistakenly in favor of mainstream Hollywood. The only reason "The Tourist" isn't a complete waste of your two hours is the spectacle of seeing Depp and Jolie on screen together for the first time. Do they share any real onscreen chemistry? Not really. But fans and admirers are willing to follow these two pop-culture icons anywhere. Here's hoping their next projects, shared or not, showcase the Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie we've come to love.