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USA/France 2010
Directed by
Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck
99 minutes
Rated PG

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
1.5 stars

The Tourist

The Tourist is one of those films regularly cited as a laughable dud and with just cause although it’s more dud than laughable. Clearly intended to be in the spirit of those romance/comedy/espionage thrillers that were popular in the 1950s and ‘60s such as Hitchcock’s To Catch a Thief 1955 and that are today at the most valued only for their cheesiness one can only conclude that Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck was not the man for an assignment which demands the kind of tongue-in-cheek sensibility which Hitchcock had in spades. (Quite the opposite in fact as von Donnersmarck won an Oscar for his high-minded German language film The Lives of Others in 2007)

Johnny Depp plays Frank Tupelo, a maths teacher from Wisconsin on holiday in Europe who finds himself on the run from bad-asses after a flirtatious encounter with a very sexy stranger, Elise (Angelina Jolie) leads them to believe that he is her boyfriend who has stolen a huge amount of loot from their boss.

Needless to say, you know how this is going to play out so the only thing at stake is how well it's done. To its credit cinematographer John Seale gives us a picture postcard representation of Venice and Angelina Jolie is a slinky femme fatale but dragging it down is the script credited to von Donnersmarck with Christopher McQuarrie and Julian Fellowes, based on a French film Anthony Zimmer by Jerome Salle. Depp who looks uncomfortable throughout is completely unconvincing in his role and somehow von Donnersmarck even manages to make his chubby face surrounded by a helmet of hair look unattractive.

There’s really little else to be said about the film except “avoid it”.




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