Today: April 17, 2024

Tourist, The

After Killers and Knight and
Day, The Tourist is now the third film released this year that revolves around
an innocent civilian who has a chance encounter with an undercover agent of
some kind and becomes embroiled in a life-or-death mission. While this film has
box office draw of two respected mega-A-list stars in the lead roles to help set it apart from its predecessors, it
unfortunately doesn’t contain much else of worth.

Angelina Jolie stars as
Elise Clifton-Ward, a mysterious woman who is knowingly kept under
in case she meets with
wanted criminal Alexander Pearce, a money launderer on the run who has had
reconstructive surgery to change his appearance. Under his instructions, Elise
gets on a train to Venice and befriends a man of the same height and build as
Pearce so that the London Metropolitan Police, headed by Acheson (Bettany)
think it is him.

In doing this, Elise engages
with Frank (Depp), an ordinary maths teacher on his travels who is drawn to her
enigmatic charms. Soon though, Frank finds himself on the run
from both the police and gangster Ivan Demidov (Berkoff) from whom Pearce stole
a sizable fortune, and it is up to Elise to keep him safe.

Although the film is
masquerading as a spy thriller, there is very little in the way of action.
Instead, director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck treats his audience to the
sights and sounds of Venice as Elise and Frank plod through their amiable, if
somewhat farcical, adventure
Sweeping shots of the city’s scenery, accompanied by romantic strings, pad out
what is an already slow-paced story and, as the film meanders towards its sadly
predictable ending, never once does anything occur to grab the audience’s
attention or even make them feel that there is ever a real sense of danger for
the two main characters.

Dialogue between Elise and
Frank is infuriatingly sparse, as Jolie spends the entire first half of the
film smiling mysteriously at Frank who frustratingly doesn’t feel the need to
question her about her obvious ulterior motives. Even the talented actors in
the lead roles do little to make up for the script’s many shortcomings
, with Jolie phoning in her elegant femme fatale
(with an occasional English accent) and Depp unable to refrain himself from
pulling the kind of comic facial twitches he usually reserves for Tim Burton.

And as the film focuses on
its two leads, the supporting cast get short thrift. Paul Bettany turns in a
decent performance as the obsessed-but-incompetent detective in charge of
catching Pearce
, but Berkoff’s
gangster gets too little screen-time to ever feel threatening. Timothy Dalton
bookends the film with what are essentially two cameos and Rufus Sewell has a
near non-speaking part as a man who randomly pops up out of nowhere to show
that he is involved in the caper somehow before disappearing again.

The worst part is, as the
story plays itself out, anybody who has been half-heartedly paying attention
can predict what is supposed to be a revelatory finale. In fact, the film’s
ending is so easy to foresee, the audience will be left wondering how none
of the other main characters came to the right conclusion earlier
, especially as the ‘shocking’ truth isn’t so much
suddenly revealed as it is gradually blundered out over the course of a 10-minute
long anti-climax.

Despite a few decent comic
flourishes from Depp, this is, at best, a pleasant stroll through Venice under
the pretence of a dynamic plot. At worst, however, it is a dull, predictable
yarn that lazily relies on its A-list stars to be of any real merit
and, most of the time, even they do not seem too
bothered to be there.

Marcia Degia - Publisher

Marcia Degia, who has worked in the media industry for more than 20 years, is the Publishing Editor of KOL Social Magazine. See website:

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