Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp get accidental in The Tourist.

Posted on January 13, 2011


It is fair to say that I’ve been eagerly awaiting the arrival of The Tourist. Why shouldn’t I? After all, there is so much promise in this film. It’s adapted from the stylish French thriller  Anthony Zimmer and directed by the man who gave us the taught The Lives of Others, Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck. It’s co-written by Donnersmarck, Christopher McQuarrie and Julian Fellowes, who gave us The Usual Suspects and Gosford Park respectively. It’s set in the achingly romantic cities of Paris and Venice and stars two of the hottest leads in Hollywood, Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie. With so much going for it, it should be a winning formula.

Unfortunately, The Tourist manages to become less than the sum of its parts. It has taken a palate of vibrant colour and mixed them to form a muddy brown. Certainly, the film is stylish and makes the best of its stunning locations, but the chemistry between the two leads, that is so essential in propelling the plot, simply fails to ignite a spark. Depp ends up looking rather bored for almost the entire film, whilst Jolie’s sophistication and elegance is all veneer and no depth, and it ends up playing like one long Ferrero Rocher advert.

It doesn’t help that the supporting cast do little to convince either. Paul Bettany does his best as the detective obsessed by tracking down his elusive quarry, but it’s very hard to sympathise with his character’s frustrations. Likewise Steven Berkoff, who, as the main antagonist, fails to generate any kind of malice or tension in his scenes, which is a shame. However, there is a nice little turn from Timothy Dalton who looks as though he could do this in his sleep, and probably is.

The Tourist still manages to be a fairly fun way to spend a couple of hours and I defy anyone not to be enchanted with the spectacle of Venice. Jolie is, without doubt, beautiful to look at and if you want a glossy spy thriller that requires little to no engagement of the brain, then this might just be for you. However, with the considerable talents involved in this film, it is a shame that The Tourist doesn’t live up to its promise.


Posted in: Films