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December 14, 2010 > Movie Review: The Tourist

Movie Review: The Tourist

Review by Jennifer Gau

Imagine finding the perfect skipping stone. It is the perfect flat shape and weight. Moreover, it promises that you will experience one of the greatest moments in life by witnessing the stone skipping into the horizon. Imagine releasing all that hope and joy into the stone as you fling it toward the water's surface. Unfortunately, after its first encounter with water, it just plops and helplessly sinks to the bottom. That's how watching "The Tourist," directed by Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, felt. With a cast of Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie, I had hopes that the movie would be enjoyable.

Elise (Angelina Jolie) is living alone in Paris while police are stalking her every move. Out of the blue, a letter arrives from her lover, Alexander Pierce, whom she hasn't seen in years. The letter tells her to take the train to Venice to meet him. While on the train, she befriends Frank (Johnny Depp), an American tourist, to throw off the police. As Frank and Elise spend time together, more is revealed as to why the police want Alexander Pierce and what role Frank plays in Elise's current circumstances. However, it starts to get too dangerous for Frank to hang around.

The plot has too many holes. The audience does not know why the police are after Alexander Pierce until later in the movie. It is obvious that Elise knows the police are using her to find Alexander, yet it is curious why she's not trying harder to get them off her trail. And so the movie drags on with awkward scenes between Frank and Elise while the police are scrambling for clues as to the whereabouts of Alexander.

There is no chemistry between Elise and Frank. It makes it difficult to believe that anything extraordinary could happen between them and therefore no reason why Elise would invite Frank to stay with her in Venice, enjoying the extravagant arrangements that Alexander had made. But she does so anyway, and tries to pretend that she's not falling in love with someone she spends no longer than a train ride with.

Jolie comes into each scene with seductive feline presence. She gives the impressions of stunning beauty and priceless treasure. The finest dresses and jewelry are picked to portray the beauty of Venice and its women of high class. Jolie's character is subdued and fragile. Elise moves as if too much bending might crack her, which shows that she's been hurt before, and is cautious with everyone in her surroundings. Unfortunately, there isn't more to her character than just a pretty face. Beside the eye candy that Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp provide on-screen, there is no other reason to watch this film.

Runtime: 1 hour 43 minutes
Rated: PG-13

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