The Tourist is meant to be a romantic international thriller. Unfortunately, the film is neither romantic nor thrilling—but, on the bright side, Venice looks stunning!
This has to qualify as one of the biggest disappointments of the year. It stars two of my favorite actors (hell, two of everyone’s favorite actors): Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp.
Even the premise sounds intriguing: A mysterious woman (Jolie) being shadowed by both Interpol and the Russian mafia, sidles up to a vacationing school teacher (Depp), hoping he’ll be mistaken for her international outlaw beau.
What follows should be intriguing, sexy, and can’t-catch-your-breath exciting. Instead, it’s leaden, lumpy, and dull.
Part of the problem is the lack of chemistry between the two leads. At first, Jolie’s Elise is supposed to see Depp’s Frank as an easy mark. Eventually, though, she’s supposed to fall for him. But there is no heat between these two actors whatsoever. Yes, I understand that Depp is intentionally playing tentative and frumpy—the role requires it. But it’s completely ill-conceived. Maybe, just maybe, if they’d allowed Depp to display the bravado of some of his sexier roles—Jack Sparrow perhaps or the swarthy gypsy from Chocolat—he’d have a chance of holding up to Jolie’s famous self-possession. (I’ve long said that there are few male actors who can take her on—Depp could’ve been one of them.) By making him play the patsy, the filmmakers have shot themselves in the foot.
Even the action scenes are half-hearted: Lame chases in the Venice canals; a rooftop footrace that has all the excitement of a home improvement project; a torture scene that is too polite to engender any real fear. And the surprise twists are more ludicrous than revelatory.
Can we have a Depp-Jolie do-over please? Please?