The Tourist

18 Dec

Title: The Tourist
Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck
Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, Christopher McQuarrie, Julian Fellowes
Angelina Jolie, Johnny Depp, Paul Bettany, Timothy Dalton, Steven Berkoff, Rufus Sewell, Christian De Sica
MPAA Rating:
PG-13, violence and brief strong language
103 min
Major Awards:
IMDb Rating:
Rotten Tomatoes:

Here is why everyone should be pissed at The Tourist. If you are a studio and you manage to get Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie, two of the world’s biggest stars today and both of whom can really act, to star in your next movie, which you have budgeted at $100 million, then you should think the result would be something great. If you then go ahead and attach Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck to direct then the result is pretty much guaranteed, this is a man after all who had made his feature film debut a couple years ago with the masterful The Lives of Others, which won the Oscar for Best Foreign Picture. If you actually go ahead and then add to that already winning formula the fact that the film was to be written by Mr. von Donnersmarck, as well as Christoper McQuarrie, an Oscar winner for his script for The Usual Suspects, and Julian Fellowes, another Oscar winner for his script for Gosford Park, then you would think it would be literally impossible for this film to be anything other than awesome. But it was. It actually kinda sucked.

I mean, it wasn’t that bad, but it should have been seriously better. When you have a crew of this pedigree you have make the most of it. Seriously, people, this is one of those films that pisses me off because of how good it could have potentially been. Again, it wasn’t all bad, and the fact that Ms. Jolie had stated on an interview for Vogue that she only took the role because it was going to be a quick shoot in Venice was probably an indicator that it wouldn’t be so good. But I was just expecting so much more from this.

Now, before I start talking about the actual movie, let me vent about just one more thing. This film was just nominated for three Golden Globes a couple days ago. I know the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which is in charge of the nominations, loves having the big stars attend their event, and Mr. Depp and Ms. Jolie certainly are huge draws for telecasts, but considering Mr. Depp already had a nomination for Alice in Wonderland, wouldn’t it have been better to leave him out in favor of, oh I don’t know, Ben Stiller in the wonderful Greenberg? As for Ms. Jolie I can concede that they felt like she needed the nod so that she would attend and draw attention to the show, but if they had to give it to a big star then Julia Roberts would have seemed a far more deserving pick for her performance in Eat Pray Love, in my opinion. As for the movie itself being nominated in the Best Motion Picture – Musical/Comedy category, I won’t even go ahead and say what films are more deserving because there are too many, but I will point out that The Tourist is in no way a Musical/Comedy, it has comedic elements, but it’s not a comedy, this was just a seriously dumb decision on behalf of the HFPA.

I’ve just spent three rather long-ish paragraphs saying why I don’t love The Tourist. But, again, it’s not that bad, it’s just that it should have been better because of the cast and crew, and that it’s apparently being heralded as good by the Globes just makes me dislike it a bit more. But now, lets focus on the actual film. One of the things it has going for it, as Ms. Jolie pointed out in that statement explaining why she chose do it, was the location. Venice indeed looks really beautiful here, courtesy of John Seale, the Oscar-winning cinematographer who has worked on such films as The English Patient and Cold Mountain.

But for all the beauty that there is in The Tourist, whether it’s from its location or its stars, it doesn’t have that much more going for it. The chemistry between Mr. Depp and Ms. Jolie is quite bad, and the plot is really messy. The Tourist is the prime example of a movie that should have really worked, and that simply didn’t.

These are still very talented people, and there are hints of the Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie that we know and love in here, but the plot is so dumb that the moments in which we get a glimpse of them are few and far between. A romantic mystery thriller, with elements of comedy in it, in which Mr. Depp plays an American mathematics teacher and Ms. Jolie a very mysterious gal who picks him up. It doesn’t even read all that well.

Ms. Jolie can play sexy, she’s pretty much the definition of it, so the role technically fits her like a glove, and Mr. Depp can pretty much play anything, so an ordinary teacher who drools over the enigmatic and sexy lady should be a walk in the park for him. And this is the recurring theme in The Tourist, on paper it all looks splendid, and yet in practice it all falls apart.

I really won’t go ahead and say much more about this film. The plot is really dull and features pretty much every single cliché in the book, and the fact that a studio made a $100 million film with such tremendous talent involved and this was the result is really frustrating. Again, it’s not the worst film of the year, not by a fair amount, but it certainly has to be amongst the most disappointing.

Grade: C+


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