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Movie Review - The Tourist

Train Scene from The Tourist

The Tourist (Johnny Depp, Angelina Jolie, Paul Bettany. Directed by Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck

Angelina Jolie plays Elise, the girlfriend of a notorious thief named Alexander Pearce. Pearce stole billions of dollars from a ruthless casino owner named Shaw and disappeared, leaving Elise for two years. While in Paris, and being followed by police, she receives a note from Alex telling her to take a train and pretend that someone on it is him. This is supposed to serve simply as a distraction by drawing the police’s attention to an innocent bystander, but the plan gets out of hand when the tourist named Frank (Depp) is mistaken by Shaw as the real Pearce and hunted. Along the way, Elise tries her hardest to remove Frank from the fray.

The movie was panned by most critics for the lack of chemistry between Jolie and Depp but I really think they were expecting too much. They have just enough chemistry to make us believe these two people just met and are tentatively drawn to each other for various reasons. No, the screen doesn’t literally explode, but I really don’t think that is the point of the movie.
I think too many people were expecting this movie to be filled with steamy sex scenes a la Mr. and Mrs. Smith and were simply going to see something sexy. But the movie is a caper - we’re meant to follow these two as they escape from the police and from the gangsters and to try and figure out where Pearce is and what is really happening. The performances are good - even Jolie, whom I usually consider to be a bit of an ice princess, manages to bring some vulnerability and softness to Elise as she talks about Pearce, a man she loves though she thinks she really shouldn’t. Depp really carries the movie, though, as a the hapless math professor who is taken along for the ride - he’s at turns both bumbling and confused and heroic and brave. It's fascinating to see how easily he can go from looking overwhelmed and frightened to something much darker and more intimidating, with just a change in his facial expression. You always get the impression that there is something worthy of fear just simmering under Frank's easy-going persona. Perhaps the plot and performances aren’t Oscar-worthy, but they’re everything they’re supposed to be for a heist/caper movie - which means they’re entertaining - and the beautiful scenery helps quite a bit.

My only real complaint is that it is easy to see the end coming, especially if you’re familiar with the French film this movie is based on (which I won’t mention here because I don’t want to give away any spoilers).

On a personal note, it’s nice to finally see Depp without tons of makeup and fake hair and to see that he can do well in a more traditional role.

3/5 stars and I recommend it for Depp, Jolie, and/or caper movie fans. You can buy The Tourist on DVD or Blu-ray from our online store.

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+ comments + 2 comments

January 24, 2011 at 11:24 AM

I did not believe that these two people just met and are tentatively falling for each other. Nevertheless, I don't think that a woman that lived with a man for two years would not recognize him if he just changed his face and voice.

February 13, 2011 at 9:48 PM

The plot is unpredictable. My mom can predict it precisely, but I don't believe it. In the end, it's perfectly match with my mom's deduction.

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