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Review: The Tourist

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Angelina Jolie. Johnny Depp. International intrigue. Clever wordplay and a twisting plot, but not one you have to think too much about. The Tourist has all these things. It sounds like a perfect way to kill some time with the family over the Christmas holiday. But is it? Do it’s two mega-stars bring it enough charm to last? Is its plot really clever enough? Will you be scratching your head or falling asleep?

These are all important questions, but in the end no of them matter. Why? Because the person who directed The Tourist is named Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck. The movie itself is decent enough fluff, but it is now a must see because of its director’s name.

Angelina Jolie. Johnny Depp. International intrigue. Clever wordplay and a twisting plot, but not one you have to think too much about. The Tourist has all these things. It sounds like a perfect way to kill some time with the family over the Christmas holiday. But is it? Do it’s two mega-stars bring it enough charm to last? Is its plot really clever enough? Will you be scratching your head or falling asleep?

These are all important questions, but in the end no of them matter. Why? Because the person who directed The Tourist is named Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck. The movie itself is decent enough fluff, but it is now a must see because of its director’s name.{{page_break}}

For those of you who don’t recognize von Donnersmarck’s name he directed the actually must-see film The Lives of OthersThe Tourist is a bit of a step down for the awesomely named director. It’s not like it jumped off a cliff into mediocrity, but it’s very clear that this movie was made for a holiday audience and its two lead stars. Desperate in its need to be original and clever, The Tourist tries far too hard for almost its entire running time and concludes in the exact way you know it’s going to from almost the very beginning.

The Tourist is one of those movies where you see the ending coming a mile away, and it sucks a lot of the wind out of what is going on. Elise Clifton-Ward (Jolie) is a woman we know very little about other than the fact that she is being followed by the British police, seems wealthy and is strikingly beautiful. It turns out that she’s being followed by the police because they’re after a man named Alexander Pierce who owes more than 7 million dollars in back taxes to the British government because of some money he may have stolen from a British gangster. Elise receives a letter from Pierce instructing her to board a train and find a man who resembles him and pretend he is him because the police don’t know what Pierce looks like.

This is where Frank (Depp) comes in. An American math teacher on vacation in Venice, Elise randomly selects him and thus sucks him into a cat and mouse game between the British police, Alexander Pierce and a gangster who wants Pierce as well. The problem is that everyone now thinks that Frank is Pierce. Frank inevitably falls for Elise though she is still in love with Pierce and nothing is actually what it seems because at its heart The Tourist is a simple spy thriller.

It does its spy thrilling well enough too as long as you pretend like you don’t know exactly what is going to happen next. Venice is a great location for a few awkwardly paced action sequences, but you’ll never really be sucked into the movie thanks to the fact that none of the action stands out (Bond did Venice better all the way back in The Spy Who Loved Me and again in Casino Royale). On top of this the plot never seems to really get going. The film seems stuck in neutral for far too much of the movie, making the big ending seem like a little whimper.

Still, you could do worse than Jolie and Depp who both have enough onscreen charisma to make even the lamest scenes work. A conversation while dancing, an overused cliché of the spy genre, is entirely enjoyable thanks to the two of them actually having chemistry together. Thankfully much of the film is just the two of them together, but even that isn’t enough to overcome the fact that you know exactly what every step of the film is. The Tourist simply reaffirms that when a surprise isn’t a surprise it’s not much fun anymore.

Overall Score: 6.00 – Okay. (6s are just okay. These movies usually have many flaws, didn’t try to do anything special, or were poorly executed. Some will still love 6s, but most prefer to just rent them. Watch more trailers and read more reviews before you decide.)

While far from the worst spy thriller ever put to film The Tourist is as easy to figure out as a child's jigsaw puzzle. Even the pull of its two big screen stars can't keep it from starting to sink into its own mire. It is pretty to look at every once in the while and one of the few films where I didn't want to barf at how skinny Angelina Jolie is.

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reviewed by Matthew Razak

 

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Matthew Razak
Matthew RazakEditor-in-Chief   gamer profile

Matthew Razak is the Editor-in-Chief here at Flixist, meaning he gets to take credit for all this awesome even though its really the rest of the amazing staff that gets it done. He started as a c... more + disclosures


 


 



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