Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

The lonely man sits on the European train speeding to an exotic locale when he is arbitrarily chosen by the mysterious, incredibly beautiful woman. It’s like one of those old-time setups where the man would be Cary Grant and the woman would be Joan Fontaine or someone like that. In this movie ‘The Tourist’ the man is a widowed school teacher played by Johnny Depp and the woman of mystery is played by Angelina Jolie. If you happen to be a big fan of either of these actors, which is a damn good chance considering how popular they both are, then ‘The Tourist’ is probably a can’t miss cinematic proposition considering how much time we look at these two actors do almost nothing for large sections of this movie. If you are not a fan of either Depp or Jolie then by God I hope you are a fan of loving shots of the city of Venice. Or watching Timothy Dalton sign papers. Or watching Paul Bettany look angry. Or watching Rufus Sewell look back at us. I’m just trying to help you get the most out of this movie is all I’m doing.

As the story goes Scotland Yard inspector John Acheson (Bettany) is searching for international financial criminal Alexander Pierce who owes the good people of Great Britain some 740 million pounds. In dollars that converts into a lot of money. It seems Elise (Jolie), our mysterious woman, is the lovely liaison of the unseen Alexander Pierce which is why The Yard and Interpol are following her every move.

Eventually Alexander slips Elise a note informing her to jump on a train, find somebody similar to him in height and build which will cause these authorities to think that this somebody is him. Elise chooses Frank the schoolteacher (Depp) who is instantly smitten by the beautiful mysterious woman and will subsequently follow her around the waterways of Venice Italy like a sick puppy.

Alexander’s plan works like a charm. Too good actually considering that super mean mobster Reginald Shaw (Alexander Berkoff) believes that Frank is truly Alexander, considering Alexander has reportedly spent 25 million in facial reconstruction surgery, and wants his head on a platter. That is after he gets back the billions of dollars that Alexander stole from him. You can rest assured that action, sleight of hand, mystery, twisteness and long loving shots of Johnny Depp pulling off his socks shall ensue.

So it is ‘Couples Night’ where a group of friends and our significant others get together, watch a movie and have dinner. ‘The Tourist’ won over ‘True Grit’, which I voted for, but apparently too many folks had seen ‘True Grit’ already. If a movie is engaging, in either a good way or a negative way, dinner will be spent talking about said movie. Our dinner was spent talking about everything under the sun except this movie because while the ‘The Tourist’ was far from terrible, at least in my opinion, it was loaded to the gills with plenty of ‘blah’. Directed by Florian Maria Georg Christian Graf Henckel von Donnerscmarck… his friends just call him Flo… ‘The Tourist’ was a film that spent way too much time paying homage to its stars than paying service to its audience. Observe as the camera lingers on Elise as she slowly walks down the walkway in an exquisite dress, the camera panning from her designer shoes, focusing on her backside before making its way up to her neck where she seductively turns around and massages the camera with her unblinking eyes. Angelina Jolie is a lovely woman, no doubt, but watching her from the rear… let’s just say that you could put a designer gown on a 5’8" piece of flat cardboard and elicit a similar effect. Watch the longing in Frank’s eyes as he takes off his cheap suit and socks… like forever… and puts on his pajamas and then stares at the ceiling. Again, if you are a fan of Depp or Jolie, watching Angelina walk and not blink or watching Johnny wear cheap suits and not comb his hair will entertain you incessantly. However if you signed on to this thing for the mystery and suspense that was alleged to be in this film then there’s a good chance you will be disappointed.

The suspense was almost non-existent, the chemistry between Depp and Jolie was lacking, the action was underwhelming and the twist that the movie served up would’ve only been a twist if it hadn’t been a twist. If that makes any sense. In fact, once the twist is revealed you are now forced, if you care, to go back and revisit a few things that occurred earlier which now doesn’t make any kind of logical sense. Again, that is if you care to do that.

A similar film, I imagine, would’ve been Cruise and Diaz in ‘Knight and Day’ which was also much maligned even though I personally enjoyed that movie. Beautiful and popular stars, mystery, intrigue and exotic locales but that movie focused less on how beautiful Cruz and Diaz might be and more on shooting people in the head. That’s an approach that’s works for me.

If you want to watch Ms. Jolie play dress up and Mr. Depp play dress down, here you go. If you want to have dinner with your friends and not have the movie you just watched interrupt a conversation about your kids and the drywall you just put up, ‘The Tourist’ works in that way as well.

Real Time Web Analytics