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Well, Venice Looks Nice Enough

Movie Review: The Tourist (2010)
Spoilers: none

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A case of mistaken identity has Elise Clifton-Ward (Angelina Jolie) and Frank Tupelo (Johnny Depp) fleeing for their lives when a ripped-off crime lord comes looking to reclaim stolen funds in the mystery/thriller, The Tourist.

This mostly robust and posh film takes its time showing off the wine-complemented beauties of Venice, not to mention the ever-breathtaking seductiveness of Jolie, while having much to say on the theme of trust and the two-faced human tendency to employ deception to gain an advantage.

Teasingly romantic, with violin music and beautiful tapestries, The Tourist relies far too heavily on its authentically embellished backgrounds that very often take the focus off of this gentle stream of a story, which could have used some rockier writing to generate some much needed excitement.

The Tourist is unfortunately yet another example of the reliance on star power rather than the raw and piercing performances needed to make a lasting impression with audiences.

There simply isn't much here to make this careful thriller into anything more than average. There is a gracing appearance by Timothy Dalton as Chief Inspector Jones, but an over-the-top James Bond-style gangster boss played by Steven Berkoff, and a handful of suspicious stares in a plot that lacks playful misdirection until the very end.

It is just before the halfway point when director Donnersmarck's cautious eye for detail goes on strike and the whole project starts to lose energy. Scenes of Depp running like a girl in pajamas on rooftops do the film no favors. Sensual scenes intended to foster chemistry between Depp and Jolie have only varying degrees of success.

The Tourist doesn't move very fast, and in some places, drags noticeably. It isn’t far in until the audience has a pretty good idea of the story’s predictable ending, while some viewers will see it coming long before that.

(JH)

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Grade: C- (2 stars)
Rated: PG-13 (for violence and brief strong language)
Director: Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck
Summary: An American tourist visiting Italy meets a beautiful woman on a train as he finds himself wanted by the mob.
Starring: Johnny Depp "Frank Tupelo," Angelina Jolie "Elise Clifton-Ward," Paul Bettany "Inspector John Acheson," Timothy Dalton "Chief Inspector Jones," Steven Berkoff "Reginald Shaw" Rufus Sewell "The Englishman"
Genre: Action / Drama / Thriller
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