You would think a movie starring Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie, two of the biggest movie stars in Hollywood, would give us fun and charismatic performances even if the material wasn’t the best. Perhaps one of “The Tourist’s” biggest letdown is that it features two of the flattest performances of these two actors careers. Combine that with a rather inconsistent and preposterous story and you have a film that isn’t nearly as good as it should have been.
The movie begins with the French police following a woman named Elise (Jolie) who, after receiving a letter from a mysterious man known as Alexander Pearce, hops a train and heads to Venice where the two will rendezvous. Once onboard she targets and manipulates an American math teacher and tourist named Frank (Depp) who she uses as a decoy to knock her pursuers off track. After arriving in Venice, Frank soon finds himself being pursued by Reginald Shaw (Steven Berkoff), a gangster who has mistaken him for Pearce. Also in the mix is John Acheson (Paul Bettany), an Inspector from Scotland Yard who is after Pearce as well. From there the movie becomes a rather absurd picture that lacks any real pizzaz.
The story tries to be both a comedy and a thriller but it never fully succeeds at either. It’s attempts at comedy are so underplayed that they are virtually nonexistent. It’s two big twists/revelations do nothing to make it a quality thriller. It’s lack of identity is made worst by the complete lack of chemistry between Jolie and Depp. Both feel like cardboard cutouts and it’s impossible to buy into any real attraction between the two. It’s hard to believe I’m calling a Johnny Depp performance lifeless but here he’s utterly emotionless. Jolie spends most of her time making seductive faces for the camera and seems just as cold as Depp. I don’t want to assume this was just a cash grab especially since these two actors are pretty sought after but it certainly feels like it.
One thing you have to give “The Tourist” is that it’s beautifully filmed by cinematographer John Seale. Whether it be the streets of Paris, the French countryside, or waterways of Venice, Seale captures the sheer beauty of these European locales and I have to admit, it really drew me in. And while the story is full of holes, it’s really quite harmless and there are moments that I found entertaining. But even with its good-looking cast and locations, “The Tourist” is too shallow, too flat, and ultimately forgettable.
It’s unfortunate that a film starring two of the biggest actors of our time sucked this much. The only aspects of The Tourist I really cared for were the soundtrack and the scenery. Like you said, the rest really fell flat. This was one of the most “normal” characters Johnny Depp has played in a great while, and I wonder if his idea of “toning it down” to be “normal” carried over into his performance being one-dimensional. As for Jolie? I actually thought she was beautiful in the film, but rather annoying from the get-go. Both actors have give other such great performances, it’s a wonder why The Tourist was so disappointing. It reminded me a little of Knight and Day with Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz. While I enjoyed that film a little more than The Tourist, I wondered why it was just an average, OK film when it was starring two huge stars. Well-said review, Keith!
I agree with you. I did get caught up in the scenery and cinematography was great. But I still find it amazing that this movie was nominated for several Golden Globe Awards. Crazy!