Review: The Tourist

Posted: December 10, 2010 in Film Reviews
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Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie in The TouristThe Tourist is a “wrong place at the wrong time” spy film. Casting two of the most desired people on Earth in the lead roles set the bar pretty high – there’s usually only one opportunity for such a pairing so you better make it count. But you can’t just sit back on your heels and hope the star power takes care of the rest. Yes, they’re both very talented and attractive; but even that can’t make a mediocre movie great.

During an impromptu trip to Europe to mend a broken heart, Frank (Johnny Depp) unexpectedly finds himself in a flirtatious encounter with Elise (Angelina Jolie), an extraordinary woman who deliberately crosses his path. Against the breathtaking backdrop of Paris and Venice, their whirlwind romance quickly evolves as they find themselves unwittingly thrust into a deadly game of cat and mouse.

All the elements are present for a good espionage movie: witty dialogue, bad decisions, mistaken identity and significant questions of trust. The problem is it doesn’t seem anyone ever decided if this was going to be a straight-up, laugh-out-loud comedy or a romantic dip into danger. As a result, everyone appears to be toeing the line somewhere between the two, never committing to either. The comedy is as downplayed as the seriousness of situations, which produces a film that’s little more than okay.

Furthermore, it’s hard to see what Depp’s long time girlfriend, Vanessa Paradis, was concerned about – other than Jolie’s reputation for engaging her co-stars – because there was no chemistry between the two actors. The one scene of passion is made so with heart pounding music and the dizziness of the camera. Otherwise, they are any two strangers who happen to have crossed each others’ paths. Not surprisingly, both play their individual roles well – Depp is a master of appearing casually clever – but their scenes of romance and seduction fall flat.

The allusion to ‘60s spy films is evident, but could have been much more prevalent. The film has its moments, but, unfortunately, the wait between them can be trying.

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