Below is the unedited version of the review published in our column Animadversion, in iMAGES on Sunday, Sunday January 9 2011. The published version is linked at the end of the post.
By Farheen Jawaid
The set-up’s there. So are the actors. But where’s the chemistry? Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp are arguably the biggest stars on Earth, but I wasn’t expecting them to tie-up on-screen in a half baked movie like “The Tourist”. The romantic/comedy/ thriller set in Europe pushes itself into Hitchcockian charms of “North by Northwest”, and ends up Southwest of nowhere.
Based-off the French film “Anthony Zimmer” director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, Oscar winner for "The Lives of Others", hasn’t a single clue why.
Ms. Jolie, stunning and seriously earning her paycheck, is Elise Ward, the femme fatale being tracked by some of Scotland Yard most incompetent off-shore partners (they give awkward comic relief throughout the movie).
The purpose for Elise’s stalking is Alexander Pearce – the man she’s in love with, who is in-hiding after running off with billions from big mob boss Ivan (Steven Berkoff).
As the Scotland Yard doesn’t know how Alexander looks like – the multimillion sting operation is shepherd by Inspector Acheson (a wasted Paul Bettany), like Mr. von Donnersmarck, he’s clueless as well – Elise chooses a random tourist, Frank Tupelo (Johnny Depp), a math teacher from Wisconsin on vacation as the decoy. She flirts and then rooms together in a lavish suite in an even more charming Venice, but this is where the charm stops.
What’s left in “The Tourist” is Ms. Jolie in the guise of Grace Kelly, Audrey Hepburn and – at the Ball in the climax – Sophia Loren. Ms. Jolie is also the one most sincere with her character. Mr. Depp is the opposite. He keeps away from any shadow of Cary Grant. Maybe it would have been infectious.
Released by Columbia Pictures, “The Tourist” is rated PG-13. Timothy Dalton and Ms. Jolie become the film’s lonesome highlights as absurdity and insipidness thrive, left, right and center.
The published version is found at: