THE TOURIST Review

What was it that made this production too big for its own britches? Too many people wanting control? Too many egos? Who knows, but whatever it was it is unfortunate. This film clearly has all the parts for a grade-A flick, two of the biggest stars in the world at their prettiest in a caper that desperately wants to come off as a throwback to a Hollywood classic where Depp is in a Carey Grant or Humphrey Bogart type role. I repeat: it tries, but Jolie's character is completely centered around how good she looks we can hardly feel like the film makers payed much attention to anything else. Seriously, every time she enters a room full of people there are what seem like obligatory shots of them turning their heads to stare at her. Director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck captures his scenery wonderfully as well as his stars, but as this film is very pretty to look at, it never takes off, nothing ever seems to really get going and to say the least, that really sucks. This could have been such a fun film, while Jolie is completely bland here it is interesting to to see the normally odd Depp go for the everyman role. His quirkiness is hard to ignore and he is clearly the most charming thing about the entire film. From the first time we catch a glimpse of his natural face we are intrigued, we want to know this character rather than go with the focus of the film which lingers too long on Jolie's Elise. Depp's Frank Tupilo is bashful yet smooth, he is attractive yet general, he may or may not have the courage to go after what he wants. It is in that question that the film lures us in and it is with Depp's demeanor that we stick with this slow moving, uneventful flop. What is really wrong with 'The Tourist' though, is its pacing. It seems like it takes forever to actually reach the introduction of Depp's character and it feels like even longer before any action begins to take place. There is no building tension, no rising action, and no hope for what should have been a pure B-movie thrill ride with an A-list cast of talent by the time we're at the half hour point. Paul Bettany is completed wasted here on a character that doesn't even make sense and Rufus Sewell, while used as a nice distraction certainly could have been more integral to the plot. And yes, let's talk about the plot. Its pretty simple in terms of how everything goes down, but basically Elisa is being followed by the police because she is apparently involved with a thief they are trying to arrest. In this, Elisa chooses a man who looks similar to her secret lover (Depp) as a distraction for the coppers that are following her. Sound like a little too much to be logical already? It is, and that's not even the half of it. As the film drags along it only becomes more and more questionable. Resulting with an outcome that if you went back and watched it a second time I don't know that it would hold up. It might, but barely, my memory tells me that there were too many inconsistencies for this to have all added up and been as neatly wrapped up as it turned out to be. The film had such potential, a pairing of two big movie stars in an action/romance romp that should have cracked and sizzled with romance and style but instead fizzles and collapses under the weight of those big names and the expectations they bring. There is much to complain about in regards to 'The Tourist' but not much too like, it is pretty to look at, especially the two leads and Venice, but that's where it ends and that is where the film finally drags us to a conclusion that is neither climactic or satisfying. None of it is, it is like a great meal that wasn't cooked the right way. Too bad, it could have been something really special.