The Tourist (2010)
The Tourist: Potential Romance Transformes In A Whirlwind Of Intrigue And Danger
The Tourist movie review: Formally labeled as a thriller, the film revolves around Frank (Depp), an American tourist visiting Italy to mend a broken heart. Elise (Jolie) is an extraordinary woman who deliberately crosses his path in order to mislead all those following her former lover. Against the breathtaking backdrop of Venice, Frank pursues a potential romance but soon finds himself the pursued as he and Elise are caught in a whirlwind of intrigue and danger.
The movie follows the series of manipulations, as characters realise that they are merely pieces being played by an unseen mastermind of the game.
What should be The Tourist’s strongest draw is actually its weakest attribute: the pairing of Jolie and Depp. Both actors have done undeniably incredible work in the past (e.g. Girl, Interrupted and Edward Scissorhands, respectively), yet here they seem stilted and bored with the plot and each other. Jolie, in particular is unnaturally stiff. She moves with such oddly slow precision that her character seems calculating rather than graceful. This shrewd nature inherently breeds distrust, making it hard for the audience to feel empathetic to Elise’s troubles. Without a likeable protagonist, how is the audience supposed to enjoy the film?
Beyond Jolie’s character flaw, the cinematography further detracts from the consistency of the film. Like in Lives of Others, von Donnersmarck tries to use camera movement to elicit emotional substance and deeper meaning. However, here the camera movement becomes a means to provide style rather than substance. The tracking shots are used in the most frivolous ways: to follow coffee cups as they are delivered to the police, to make a 5 mile per hour canal chase look dangerous, and to showcase Jolie’s beauty (which quickly becomes tiresome). Also, the camera movement is not executed tightly enough – the DP and camera operator seem overeager, often anticipating character movement by a fraction of a second. As such, the camera seems to pull the actors through the scenes, suggesting that they are not moving of their own volition; they are merely trying to keep up with the tracking frame.
Overall, The Tourist is like a survey course of the history of Hollywood filmmaking. The superficially stylized film plays out like a romantic action-thriller-heist-suspense-cop-comedy, never lingering more than a few moments on any one genre, which makes its plotline and characters forgettable and mostly irrelevant. However, the film does excel in a way that makes its name quite apt: von Donnersmarck beautifully showcases Venice, making the audience virtual tourists along the unnecessarily twisted yet tame canals. Box Office: The Tourist opened at $16,472,458 on its first weekend at #2 spot behind The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. As of January 2, 2011, the film has grossed $54,000,000 domestically and $37,100,000 internationally for a total of $91,925,000 worldwide.
Director(s):Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck
Cast:Johnny Depp, Angelina Jolie, Rufus Sewell, Paul Bettany