Grab two of the biggest movie stars on the planet, throw in an internationally acclaimed filmmaker, set the action in romantic Venice, then just sit back and wait for the magic to happen. Right?
In theory, The Tourist had all the makings of a monstrous hit, but in reality, it’s a dully paced “thriller” that offers more yawns than twists.
Angelina Jolie stars as Elise Clifton-Ward, a British woman being followed by Scotland Yard because she knows the whereabouts of Alexander Pearce, a wanted fugitive who happens to be her lover. When Pearce gets in touch with her to arrange a meeting, he asks her to distract the police by making them believe he is someone else.
Lo and behold here comes Johnny Depp, playing American math teacher Frank Tupelo. Elise approaches him on a train from Paris to Venice, makes him her decoy and gets him entangled in utter chaos, as not only the police go after him but so does a group of Russian mobsters.
As exciting as this film could’ve been, there is something completely wanting. Perhaps it’s the screenplay which is full of plot holes and devoid of any coherence, or maybe it’s the complete lack of chemistry between Jolie and Depp who look beautiful together, but often seem to be competing for screen time more than making us believe their characters might fall in love.
Perhaps it’s director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, whose cerebral thriller The Lives of Others won an Oscar four years ago, but on his Hollywood debut seems to have compromised his eye for detail and surrendered it at the service of a completely muddled story.
For everything that The Tourist gets right (like casting the animalistic Timothy Dalton as a British spy) it gets a million other things wrong (Jolie’s British accent is so fake that she often has to say out loud she’s playing someone from the UK).
And for all its intentions of being a stylish romantic thriller like Charade, there’s only so much we can take of Depp pretending he’s a nerd and Jolie strutting around with gargantuan jewels and contemptuousness. Truth is they’re neither Audrey Hepburn nor Cary Grant and this by no means is as enjoyable as that film was.
The Tourist feels like one of those insipid guided trips around a strange new city where you’d rather be out exploring on your own than feigning interest in whatever the guide tells you to enjoy.
The Tourist is playing now in theaters everywhere in Costa Rica. English and French with Spanish subtitles.
Movie theaters in San Jose, Costa Rica: Cinemark del Este, Cinemark Escazú, CCM Cinemas San Pedro and Paseo de las Flores, Cinépolis Terramall, Cinépolis Desamparados, NOVA Cinemas