Friday, September 2, 2011

The Tourist

Directed by Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck.
2010. Rated PG-13, 103 minutes.
Angelina Jolie
Johnny Depp
Paul Bettany
Steven Berkoff
Timothy Dalton
Rufus Sewell
Christian De Sica
Alessio Boni

The police are hot on the trail of Elise (Jolie). Everywhere she goes there are a couple of agents practically within spitting distance. Cameras are constantly trained on her and her every move is reported back to Inspector Acheson (Bettany) in real time. However, they’re not really interested in her. They are after her super reclusive boyfriend Alexander Pierce. They don’t know what he looks like. Still, they’ve managed to surmise that she is leaving Paris to meet him on their way to Venice. To throw the hounds off her scent, Elise throws herself at tourist Frank Tupelo (Depp) on the train, making the cops think he is the man they’re looking for. Why the law is after Pierce isn’t immediately clear. Why someone else is after him is made plain right away. He’s managed to steal over $2 billion from a ruthless gangster who also isn’t sure what he looks like.

Watching Jolie get followed around is mildly interesting. Trying to figure out who’s the mystery man is a tiny bit moreso. Occasionally, we get a chase scene as Frank either flees for his life or gets rescued by Elise. Mostly, these are not spectacular action sequences. They’re just adequate and advance the plot just a bit. It’s all rather bland.

Our two leads were brought in to be anything but bland. Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp are both stars. This is without question. Each has considerable presence, demanding we watch them. That is their job and both do it well. Sadly, the rest of the movie fails them. Who the actors are is remarkable. What they are doing is not. As a result, the romantic sparks that may have ignited this affair are missing. The humor that may have carried the day is hit or miss, at best. This means this movie has many of the same problems as a pair of movies of recent vintage: Knight and Day and Killers. Unfortunately, this has less action than either of those to distract us with. This wants to be smarter than those. It is. It’s just not smart enough to mask its flaws and raise itself from mediocrity.

MY SCORE: 5/10

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