Film Review: The Tourist

The Tourist is not a good movie. What it promises with its attractive cast and glamorous locations, it fails to deliver with ludicrous plotting and a lack of suspense when it is really needed.

Frank, an American tourist, meets the beautiful Elise while on a train to Venice. She encourages Frank to spend time with her, but little does he realise that she is trying to throw police off the scent of her most-wanted beau. Frank’s life is put in danger, as he is pulled further into Elise’s world…

The Tourist seemingly attempts a cross between a James Bond film and a Hitchcockian thriller. Sadly, Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck’s film gets close to neither. Whilst the initial premise calls for a suspension of disbelief, by the end of the film any attempt at verisimilitude is entirely thrown overboard. The NeverEnding Story looks like a slice of gritty realism in comparison to The Tourist.

There are a number of narrative twists in The Tourist. These become ever more incredulous as the film goes on. The idea of Elise apparently fooling the police by sitting with someone who looks like the man they are after is riddled with holes. The wanted man, Alex, has only been missing two years, so it is questionable why the police think his appearance would have changed so much. Unfortunately, with each twist the story becomes more farcical, finishing with a conclusion that is highly problematic and unconvincing, to say the least.

Furthermore, The Tourist lacks the charm that could have made all the plot holes more forgivable. The small attempts at humour fall flat, and there is a lack of tension in the action sequences. There is never any really sense of danger for the protagonists, thus the boat and rooftop chases seem tame as a result. The Tourist fails to build momentum when it is needed; the ball scene feels less like a climax given all the twists and turns.

The characters featured in the film are not especially believable, or convincing in their behaviour. Although Elise is beautiful, there is never the indication that her and Frank really click. There is not much time donated to their initial conversations, so it is hard to see why Frank would risk his life for someone he happened to meet on a train. Shaw, meanwhile, is the hammiest of villains, thanks to some lazy writing.

Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie are both good actors, yet lack chemistry in The Tourist. Given the script, it is surprising that either one of them signed on to star in the film. Jolie is very attractive, but the constant head-turning and fawning in The Tourist is both unrealistic and tiresome. Perhaps the only bright spark in the entire film is the appearance of Timothy Dalton in a small role. The Tourist, nevertheless, is a long way from The Living Daylights.

Even die-hard fans of Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie will be hard pushed to describe The Tourist as a decent watch, or a good career choice by either of the leads. A disappointing film.