The Tourist

The Tourist (Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, 2010)

Johnny Depp, Angelina Jolie, Paul Bettany, Steven Berkoff

Revolves around Frank, an American tourist visiting Italy to mend a broken heart. Elise is an extraordinary woman who deliberately crosses his path.

Roger Ebert must have been feeling particuarly grumpy the day he reviewed this film (see below) and I've quoted him at length to show not only that but also that he actually say what he doesn't like about it, just that he doesn't. His reviews usually tell the story in some detail, tendentiously, indicating his moral take on it, but rarely saying much about how the movie is made. The film I saw was simply brilliant entertainment. I'd never seen Angelina Jolie before, so obviously this is not the kind of film I would normally seek out - but I am interested in this director. I thought it was an intriguing story and the writing was clever, and that the stellar cast did a great job.

There’s a way to make a movie like The Tourist, but Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck doesn’t find that way. Here is a romantic comedy crossed with a crime thriller, shot in Paris and Venice, involving a glamorous mystery woman and a math teacher from Wisconsin. The plot is preposterous. So what you need is a movie that floats with bemusement above the cockamamie, and actors who tease each other.
... The supporting roles are filled by excellent actors, and it’s a sign of the movie’s haplessness that none of them make a mark. You have Paul Bettany and Timothy Dalton as cops, Steven Berkoff as the gangster and Rufus Sewell as "The Englishman," who must be important because he hangs around without any apparent purpose. Once in London, I saw Berkoff play a cockroach in his adaptation of Kafka’s Metamorphosis. It might have helped if he’d tried the cockroach again.
A depressing element is how much talent The Tourist has behind the camera. Writer-director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck made The Lives of Others, which won the 2007 Oscar for best foreign film. The screenplay is by Christopher McQuarrie (Oscar winner for The Usual Suspects) and Julian Fellowes (Oscar winner for Gosford Park), along with von Donnersmarck. It’s based on a French film written by Jerome Salle, which was nominated for a Cesar. All three Tourist writers seem to have used their awards as doorstops. Roger Ebert.


Garry Gillard | New: 22 February, 2019 | Now: 22 February, 2019