The Tourist

The Tourist

DIR: Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck • WRI: Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, Christopher McQuarrie, Julian Fellowes • PRO: Gary Barber, Roger Birnbaum, Jonathan Glickman, Ron Halpern, Tim Headington, Graham King • DOP: John Seale • ED: Joe Hutshing, Patricia Rommel • DES: Jon Hutman • CAST: Johnny Depp, Angelina Jolie, Paul Bettany

The Tourist has one of the most promising line-ups ever: featuring the talented Johnny Depp and the gorgeous Angelina Jolie, directed by Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck (The Lives of Others), and written by both Julian Fellowes (Gosford Park) and the author of one of the greatest films of all time, Christopher McQuarrie (The Usual Suspects). However, even with all those gourmet Hollywood ingredients, this film is little more than greasy fast-food cinema.

An incredibly pretty film, The Tourist must have been funded almost entirely by Venice’s Tourism Board, as the sweeping shots of the city often take precedence over other silly little things – like character development or plot. The camera takes its time panning around posh hotel rooms and around lavish locations, instead of getting to the point and telling an actual story.

In an ‘homage’ to films from the ’50s and ’60s, the epic orchestral soundtrack plays constantly, trying in vain to add some lift to the flattest possible scenes, and instead gives a surreal and comical feeling to the film. It really is quite cringeworthy to listen to that OTT soundtrack climaxing away in the background as the two people on screen just sit down, eat some dinner and shoot the breeze.

The plot is just awful: like something that was written by a computer programme named ‘Screenwriting 101’. The completely unoriginal, boring characters plod along through a number of uninspired misadventures damaging a great deal of Venice’s infrastructure along the way.

The two leads might as well have been cousins, for all the chemistry that was between them. However, I did enjoy it when Angelina threw some pretty hilarious ‘shapes’ with her determined strutting. And the bad guy… what a character. He constantly tries to out-evil himself with some diabolically dastardly, diabolical dialogue: ‘I once murdered a pregnant waitress for putting too much pepper on my food.’ Good for you Reginald Shaw!

It’s not that The Tourist is the worst movie ever, it generally covers its bases: it’s vaguely entertaining, pretty to look at and is star-studded; it just so happens that its got all the emotional depth and intricacies of a slice of toast.

Gemma Creagh

Rated 12A (see IFCO website for details)
The Tourist is released on 10th December 2010

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