The Tourist

Watched this film a couple of days ago while eating dinner since it was raining (first time of the holiday), it was picked up incase of such an occasion by my mum. The basic premise being that a random tourist gets caught up in something far beyond his normal life when he meets Elise on the train to Venice.

The Tourist - leads

Elise (Jolie) and Frank (Depp) meeting for the first time

The two leads are played by Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie, both actors I like, and as a result, was looking forward to seeing them. Depp plays Frank Tupelo, a ‘math’ teacher from Wisconsin, who is, as hinted (rather strongly) by the title, a tourist currently going around Italy (or possibly all of Europe, never really told), whose entire life gets turned upside down when he meets and starts to get to know the mysterious Elise Ward, played by Angelina Jolie, and then proceeds to get mistaken as a man on the run from the law. I must warn you that Depp (sadly) doesn’t have the same accent as per the Pirates films, although I do believe I saw some hints of the famous Captain Jack run during one of the more humorous scenes as he is seen fleeing from a couple of gun-toting Russians across the tiled rooves of Venice whilst wearing some striped pyjamas; which was quite a sight, and probably my favourite scene of the entire film. Jolie plays Elise well, coming across as a powerful woman, who knows what she wants, and knows what she needs to do to get it, although her facial expressions felt a little out of place at times, as though she was continually in an advert for Chanel’s latest scent. Often Americans who are asked to put on a British accent for films tend to be a bit naff, however I was pleasantly surprised. She has a slightly elusive and sexual air to her, which is at odds to Depp’s more down to earth and underachieving character. The story follows Frank and Elise as they keep coming together, whether by chance or design, and as they do their best to avoid the Russian henchmen of a gangster who goes by the name Shaw (played by Steven Berkoff) and who thinks Frank owes him a rather large amount of money.

The film is almost entirely based in Venice, and as a result you get to see some lovely views of the city, and even manage a ‘high speed’ chase along one of the numerous canals throughout the city, which has a wonderfully relaxed feel to it due to the speed, which fitted with the tone of the film, despite the relatively serious and tense action occurring on screen. There is a relatively decent chemistry between Depp and Angelina. The ever persistent inspector (played by Paul Bettany) at Scotland Yard is determined to get his man despite his higher ups telling him to let it go, although you never really feel the sympathy you’re meant to for him. Overall the story has enough to keep you interested, but doesn’t really grab you, with various lines coming together quite nicely in the end; however the climactic twist doesn’t really work since by the time you’ve got there, you’re not really bothered.

For me the negatives would be a couple of the scenes, or more specifically some of the looks by some of the characters, which felt a little … forced, or at least, when it came to the relationship between Frank and Elise, a little quick (and as a result, a little ‘Hollywood’). There was also the odd moment where none of us watching could quite work out what had happened (during the canal chase scene, one of the baddies in pursuit seems to just disappear, letting them get away scot free).
The entire film does slightly struggle with its own identity slightly, since there wasn’t quite enough tension to be an out and out spy thriller, but nor was there enough romance or comedy to be a romantic comedy.

The Good:

  • Strong leads (especially Depp)
  • Some lovely scenes showing the city of Venice

The Bad:

  • Not a particularly strong story
  • Did an ok job at being a thriller with elements of romance and comedy, but didn’t really shine in
  • any of those regions

Should I watch it?
I enjoyed it, since I didn’t really mind the lack of identity, and lack of a gripping story. I tend to base my films on the cast, and this is no different, with Depp stealing the show, delivering most of the humour, both in his accidental (one assumes) use of Spanish throughout the film, and his entire demeanour. It’s nothing special really, but is quite suitable for all of the family, and good for a quiet night in while you eat your tea or whatnot, but possibly not worth going out of your way to watch it.

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