- Movie Rating -

The Tourist (2010)

| April 19, 2011 | 0 Comments

The Tourist is an old fashioned spy thriller, one of those grand adventures with exotic locations and beautiful people. You can imagine it being made in the 1950s. It is a clean-cut, inoffensive, dreamy fantasy with all the usual spy machinations with the handsome man and the beautiful woman who meet on a train, while one of them is being followed by an all-star team of international bad guys. They get in a grand adventure together in an exotic city and find romance and intrigue while dodging bullets and sipping martinis. You can imagine this plot starring Cary Grant and Tippi Hedren.

In the 1950s, this kind of adventure was fairly fresh and original. Here in the 21st century, however, it seems a little tired. If director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck wanted this to be an homage to that genre, he might have done well to mention that in the movie’s PR. That way I might not have set my expectations quite so high. As it stands, this movie seems like a grand day out for its stars. I’ve seen it, and now I’m ready for them to get back to serious work.

The movie stars two of the most beautiful people in the world, Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp as the woman and the man on the run. She is Elise Clifton-Ward, an international woman of mystery who is being tailed by the French police Scotland Yard and Interpol. Sitting at a table at a cafe, being watched by all three, she receives a letter from Alexander Pearce, a former lover, with instructions to board a train to Venice and choose an ordinary passenger who resembles him and make the police believe that this man is Alexander Pearce. She burns the letter right there at the table, which those watching her retrieve after her departure and attempt to piece back together.

The ordinary guy that she chooses on the train is Frank Tupelo (Depp), a math teacher from the states, who looks about as un-ordinary as one man could get. As a sign of the times, he isn’t smoking cigarettes as Cary Grant would, rather he is smoking those electronic cigarettes that are made of plastic and contain water vapor. Elise takes up with him, he falls in love with her (naturally) and she may have feelings for him, but knows that the job can be Hell on a love affair. So the adventure goes. They meet and have the romantic difficulty while the bad guys chase them all over the European countryside. There isn’t anything really new here.

One thing that bothered me about The Tourist was Angelina Jolie. She has one of the most beautiful and recognizable faces in the world but in this movie, she is made up so poorly that she looks almost plastic. Her eyes have too much eye-liner and her skin is painted with enough skin cream to lube a truck. A good example is a moment early in the film when she is having dinner with her Depp and her famous lips are slathered with an unappealing shade of dark red lipstick. Jolie looks her best when she is allowed to seem natural and a pound of make-up takes away her appeal. There are some scenes in this movie when she looks about 30 years older.

Depp has his own problems. Here is one of the best character actors ever to work in film, a man who occupied Ed Wood, Edward Scissorhands, Ichabod Crane, Sweeney Todd, John Dillinger, Willy Wonka, The Mad Hatter and of course the immortal Jack Sparrow. His characters always had a goofy center, a slightly angular manner about them and Depp knows how to play those notes without ever seeming to take them seriously. The last thing we want from Johnny Depp is to see him play an ordinary guy. In this movie, he is obliged to play the guy who is completely out of the loop the entire time. He’s the ordinary guy that Cary Grant might have played years ago, but who wants to see Johnny Depp playing an ordinary guy? ‘The Tourist’ is old fashioned from one end to the other, but that’s not exactly a good thing. Here is a spy story that runs the numbers and never steps outside its perimeters. The problem with that is that at a time when TV has taken the spy into lighter waters with “Chuck” and the spy movie genre has been rewritten by the likes of the Jason Bourne movies and the tough mean age of James Bond, brought on by the era of Daniel Craig, The Tourist seems rather dated.

About the Author:

Jerry Roberts is a film critic and operator of two websites, Armchair Cinema and Armchair Oscars.
(2010) View IMDB Filed in: Uncategorized