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'The Tourist' Movie Review

About.com Rating 2 Star Rating
User Rating 1 Star Rating (1 Review)


Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie in 'The Tourist.'

Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie in 'The Tourist.'

© Columbia Pictures
On paper, The Tourist looks terrific. It's got one of the most beautiful women in the world working opposite one of the finest actors of his generation working off a script from two Academy Award-winning screenwriters under the direction of an Oscar-winning filmmaker. It's an action thriller set in Paris and Venice and is filled with beautiful scenery. But The Tourist on screen is as flat as a sheet of paper. There's no chemistry between the leads (Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp), no thrills to be had, and while The Tourist seems to take itself extremely seriously, it's actually more closely akin to a screwball comedy from the '50s than a modern-day big-budget dramatic thriller.
And here's what's really bizarre about The Tourist is that after sitting through the film, I still can't say for sure whether the director and screenwriters were in on the joke all along. Is The Tourist supposed to be a spoof of old-school caper films? If it is, then kudos for successfully disguising that fact in the marketing campaign. I had no idea The Tourist was a goofy comedy before taking in the screening.

The Story

A gorgeous mannequin is brought to life and is placed at the center of a story involving the theft of billions of dollars. That's not the official synopsis but it's close to what unfolds onscreen in The Tourist.

Angelina Jolie plays Elise Ward, the glamorous girlfriend of a fugitive who's taken billions of dollars from a Russian mobster (actually, he's meant to be British but for some reason he looks and acts like Hollywood's version of a Russian mobster). Said British baddie wants his money back, so he and his Russian gang (they actually are meant to be Russian...go figure) try to track down the missing embezzler by keeping a watch on Elise. Not that that's a bad gig for the thugs as, like I've now mentioned twice already, she's gorgeous. And director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck never lets us forget that as the film is filled with close-ups of Jolie's face mixed with occasional butt shots. Seriously. Face and butt shots.

Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp The Tourist Photo

Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp

© Columbia Pictures
Meanwhile Johnny Depp shows up with horrible hair and looking a good 10 years older than his actual age to play Frank Tupelo, an innocent math teacher who's ensnared in Elise's web after she takes the empty seat across from him on a train bound for Venice. Every man - and a few women - on the train want Elise to sit with them but she chooses Frank because he has the same build as her missing boyfriend. The boyfriend, Alexander Pearce, passed her a note telling her to do this. The note was passed in Paris while Elise was under surveillance by the British police, but she knew they were watching because they were in a huge van parked a mere 50 feet away.

What follows is snowballing silliness. Elise sets up Frank to take the fall for Alexander because no one has a picture of Alexander's face. Then she doesn't really want Frank the math teacher to get hurt so she backtracks and helps him out. But, she's still in love with Alexander and now the British/Russian villains are closing in and the police are always no more than a stone's throw away from the action. What's a girl to do? Well, if audiences are paying any attention at all to anything other than Jolie's face in close-up, they'll have figured out the answer a quarter of the way in and will spend the rest of The Tourist just watching the pretty scenery go by and laughing at the outlandish action scenes.

The Bottom Line

Depp's normally brilliant in anything he tackles, but The Tourist gets away from him early on. Try as he might, Depp is handcuffed by the script and is never able to make much out of Frank. He's also not able to spark an onscreen connection with Jolie. Granted, that is most likely due to the fact Jolie's been directed to - or has simply chosen to herself - remain completely emotionless throughout the film. It's a Stepford Wife-ish performance that's off-putting, and there's no real explanation as to why it's handled this way.

Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp The Tourist Photo

Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp

© Columbia Pictures
And, please, if someone does go see this, can you send me an email and explain why it's necessary to have Johnny Depp's character puffing away on an electronic cigarette and making a big deal out of it each time he lights up?

The Tourist is beautiful to behold, and I'm not just talking about Jolie's face now. Paris and Venice are on display in all their glory, and their beauty is basically all there is about The Tourist to enjoy.


The Tourist was directed by Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck and is rated PG-13 for violence and brief strong language.

Theatrical Release: December 10, 2010 GRADE: D+

Disclosure: This review is based on a screening provided by the studio. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.
User Reviews

Reviews for this section have been closed.

 1 out of 5
Horrible!, Member murrman41

I really thought it was a spoof of a 50's action/thriller but I guess it wasn't. The dialogue and direction were not up to par for a film with that type of star power. It didn't even make back Depp's salary the opening weekend. Pathetic!

1 out of 1 people found this helpful.

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