The Tourist
Is Depp playing a hobbit? He’s so much tinier than I remember him.

Theatrical Release Date: 12/10/2010
Director: Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck
Cast: Angelina Jolie, Johnny Depp, Paul Bettany, Timothy Dalton, Steven Berkoff, Rufus Sewell


Stop telling me I look like Elizabeth Taylor … at least add “40 years ago”.

When I think of the holidays, I think of Christmas lights. There’s nothing quite like driving through decorated neighborhoods admiring the sparkle of it all, while queueing up a festive playlist and eating homemade cookies with some piping hot cider resting in the cup holder.

Apparently, in honor of the warm and fuzzy feeling those lights give to so many people this time of year, director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck (no, I didn’t make that name up) is giving audiences “The Tourist”; a film that’s light on action, light on plot twists (unpredictable ones anyway), and light on entertainment in general.

The basic premise seems to be that Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp are pretty. We see them walk here and there. We see them cast furtive glances at one another. We see nearly every bystander in the film give themselves whiplash whenever Jolie walks by. But we never see anything really fun or exciting.

Oddly enough, this is actually a remake of the 2005 film, “Anthony Zimmer” starring Sophie Marceau and Yves Attal. I never knew that film existed but I can only hope that the original writer/director, Jérôme Salle, did a better job of balancing the romantic and spy thriller elements than von Donnersmarck.

Essentially, Jolie and Depp’s traipsing around Venice amounts to very little in the way of intrigue or interest. Whenever the film begins to develop some nice comedic elements, we’re quickly shuffled back towards tedious and cliché plot points about Russian mafia types and British special agents. When the romantic angles are played up, the smarminess of it all nearly causes more laughter than any attempt Depp made to be charming (like speaking Spanish in Italy).

Whatever direction the film wanted to take was quickly counteracted by the next plot point and it made for a very bland result. I was never exactly restless but all I learned after the film faded to credits was that I like the Muse song played over them (“Starlight” if you’re wondering).

A 2.5 out of 5, “The Tourist” is far from good holiday fun and should have gotten a release date in early spring or fall, to rest comfortably among less notable or necessary film viewing. This is nothing more than a quick and easy paycheck for all those involved, never using its cast’s talents effectively or making for much more than a way for people who live in colder climates to pass the time indoors.

Fun Facts:
Earlier attempts by the same production company (Spyglass) to get this remake to screen included Lasse Hallström in the director’s chair, and a revolving door of leads, with Charlize Theron, Tom Cruise and Sam Worthington among the actors attached at one point or another. Sadly, I think a Theron/Worthington pairing under Hallström’s direction would have been the best possible combo I’ve seen mentioned but I guess now we’ll never know.

2.5 out of 5