The Bore-ist

Dec. 13, 2010, 8:51 a.m. | By Eli Schwadron | 12 years, 11 months ago

Star cast can't make up for dull "Tourist"

Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp are two of the hottest people on the planet and they are starring in one movie. What's not to like? Director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck's "The Tourist" boasts a star-studded cast but fails to deliver any sort of excitement or creativity despite the movie's promise. This remake of the 2005 French film "Anthony Zimmer" comes up short due to poor acting, dry dialogue and a surprise ending that isn't very surprising at all.

The British police are chasing Elise Ward (Jolie) who is tracking down her lover Alexander Pearce. To add to the tension, Pearce stole $2 million from gangster Reginald Shaw (Steven Berkoff) and is wanted in fourteen countries. While living in Paris, Ward receives a letter from Pearce instructing her to catch a train to Venice, pick someone on the train whose height and build is similar to his, and make the British think the stranger is Pearce. Ward chooses tourist Frank Tupelo (Depp), a math teacher from Wisconsin. Soon upon arrival in Venice, Tupelo is confronted by Shaw and his cronies, who want him dead because they believe him to be Pearce. Multiple chase scenes ensue, with Tupelo suddenly fearing for his life after being thrust into such an unfortunate situation.

"The Tourist" is classified as a thriller, but you'll be hard-pressed to find many thrills in this mundane movie. Not only were the characters without meaning, but the plot was also flat. The film's lack of pizzazz may be because the director's budget was cut short, or the screenplay may have been just incredibly unexciting to begin with. There were no intense gun shoot-outs, no big explosions, and until the final scene of the movie, no real drama. Simply put, this movie was somewhat of a bore.

While the Jolie and Depp pairing sounds fantastic in theory, the reality is that they fail to mesh well, which resulted in a relationship that lacks depth. Their conversations are usually only a couple sentences long and include awkward silences that seem unintentional.

Nonetheless, the lack of chemistry between Jolie and Depp is not only a result of poor acting, but also of an unoriginal script that doesn't allow the two actors to fully come into character. Ultimately, the dialogue is far too serious. Some playful banter between the co-stars, or even just a tinge of a sense of humor in either character, would have done wonders to the movie's believability.

The beautiful setting provided more excitement than Depp and Jolie's chemistry, in fact. Donnersmarck portrays a beautiful view of Venice, and incorporates unique aspects of the city into the movie quite well. One of the more entertaining moments of the film is a chase scene which features motorboats zooming through Venetian canals. Don't get your hopes up though. These four to five minutes of action is about all you're getting with this movie.

"The Tourist" could have been great; an action-spy movie with Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp with such an interesting plotline has no excuse for falling flat on its face. But Donnersmarck's movie somehow managed to do so, failing to flesh out Depp and Jolie's roles and lacking the action-packed sequences that audiences yearn for. Don't go rushing to any theater to see this one.

"The Tourist" is rated PG-13 for violence and brief strong language. Now playing in theaters everywhere.

Eli Schwadron. Eli (@eschwad) is a chill guy who likes to play basketball, watch TV and eat. More »

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