The Tourist

Director    Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck
Starring    Angelina Jolie, Johnny Depp, Paul Bettany, Stephen Berkoff
Release    10 DEC (UK)    Certificate 12A
1 stars


9th December 2010

Depp! And Jolie! Together, onscreen for the first time! How exciting is this going to be? The answer is: not at all. In fact, this film is so uninspiring, that at one point in the film Depp's character is seen reading a spy novel and I caught myself wishing we could be following that story instead. It certainly couldn't have been any worse than this dreary smugfest.

The film starts with a surveillance team on Angelina Jolie as she walks all elegant and aloof to the nearest café and sits and drinks her elegant and aloof coffee. For reasons that aren't thoroughly explained until long after we've stopped caring, Paul Bettany and the rest of Scotland Yard are waiting for Elise (Jolie) to be contacted by her ex-lover, money-laundering criminal, Alexander Pearce who has, incredibly, had reconstructive surgery and so could be anyone. Yes, that's a key plot point.

Elise then receives a letter from Pearce telling her to catch a train to Venice and pick someone of the same height and build as him so that the police get the wrong guy. Of course, she picks Chubby Depp. Chubby Depp and Bonier-than usual Jolie (I suspect he was stealing her on-set catering meals) then embark on a silly bout of confused life-and-death scenarios that all trundle along onto the ridiculously predictable ending.

[gallery]Like any tourist, this film meanders around all the familiar landmarks without ever really making an impression. There's a rooftop chase, ballroom scene...all the done-to-death spy set-pieces. The difference is, however, that this film ambles along at its own pace, taking the scenic route through many, many shots of Venice landscapes.

It's easy to see that the hilariously named director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck was trying to capture a certain charming, romantic tone, but when there's not much action and no decent dialogue in the whole film, you start to feel like you're watching a holiday programme.

So, with not much in the way of plot, at least we have our two mega-talented stars, right? Well, no, because neither Jolie or Depp seem to be really there for this film at all, with Ange capable of playing the enigmatic femme fatale in her sleep and Johnny half-heartedly drawing a mix of comic confusion and the odd facial quirk he pulls out for all of his kookier roles.

To make things worse, the entire set up between the two is infuriating. Jolie overplays her mystery to the point where she comes across as part-mystical waif, part high-class prostitute. And then Chubby Depp is downright exasperating in his inability to grab Jolie and scream "What's the game? Why am I in danger? Who are you?". Apparently, he's quite happy to be shot at if it means a chance to jump Jolie's ever more visible bones.

And finally then, depending on how much you've been paying attention, you can easily see the film's ultimate revelation slowly approaching from very early on, and when it does eventually arrive, it doesn't so much suddenly shock and stun as get slowly dripped out over the course of a 10-minute anti-climax.

Overall, this film is a dull, lifeless run-through of familiar territory. Between the tedious plot, the lacklustre script and the unnecessary Dontcha Love Venice scenic shots, this film should be renamed 'The Tourist, bored'.

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