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I Wouldn’t Travel Too Far To Catch ‘The Tourist’

My good friend has a one-word saying where if something is just barely plausible in her opinion she will respond by saying “meh.”  Honest to God, I can’t think of a better word to describe The Tourist.  When she asked me today how the film was I was not quick enough to respond in the language only she would truly understand (the use of the slang word “meh”).  Instead I used my intellectual vocabulary (yeah right) to simply state that I needed another viewing to formulate a true opinion of the flick, but after just chatting with fellow reviewer Aaron Neuwirth, I no longer think that is necessary. Simply put, this film is just “meh,” and it seems I’m not the only reviewer out there that thinks so.

So how does a movie fail when it has two of the biggest box office stars opposite each other?  Before I go on to answer that question, I just wanted to sincerely apologize for killing all the suspense in the opening paragraph above.  I usually spend a few paragraphs talking about my feelings going into the movie, the production of the film, the general plot and what not before delivering my final verdict (aka my stamp that either reads ACCEPT or DENIED).  But really, what’s the use?  If a movie is just okay, then you the movie going public reading this needs to know that as soon as possible.  Why beat around the bush?  To do so would be doing a disfavor to you.  And I’m not that guy.  So I’m sorry if I ruined any surprises and I will tread lightly on the spoilers, but if you can wait for this film to come out on video in 90 days (and believe me…it will), then by all means…WAIT!

So anyway, where were we?  Oh yeah…how did a film that contains everyone’s favorite, Johnny Depp, and the sultry Angelina Jolie fall flat on its face?  Well…I use the word “flat” very lightly here.  There were things about The Tourist that I liked a lot and other parts where I was like, really?  As I told my friend today, if you go into this movie thinking you are going to see another impossible, but completely adrenalized action thriller like SALT (which I did not mind at all by the way despite the huge plot holes), then you are going to be severely disappointed.  The Tourist is a slow muddy thriller that does little to entice and/or excite its would be captive audience.  You don’t know how much it pains me to say that because I really wanted to like this flick (much like I was with The Expendables).  I’m not the biggest Jolie fan there is (there are some roles I felt she ruined like Tomb Raider’s Lara Croft), but I thought the chemistry between her and Depp would be immeasurable.  Man, was I ever mistaken.  There was definitely something missing.  Before last night, I was half expecting to read in US Weekly that Jolie was going to leave Pitt for Depp, but I’m pretty sure that’s not going to happen.  Pretty sure.

So The Tourist is actually a remake of the 2005 French film Anthony Zimmer.  The feature is directed by Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck (try to say that name really fast) and in addition to Jolie and Depp it also stars everyone’s favorite priest and monk, Paul Bettany, and Timothy Dalton.  It’s also interesting to note, much like SALT, the leading male role for this film was originally attached to Tom Cruise (I also heard a rumor that Sam Worthington once had it too).  In addition to Cruise, Charlize Theron was also cast to play Jolie’s role.  There were also a number of directorial changes too.  You know what all this means?  The film was set up for failure way before it was even produced.  Hmm…why does Jonah Hex instantly come to mind?  Oh well, let’s move on.

The Tourist tells the tale of an American “tourist” (Depp) visiting Venice, Italy and his fateful encounter with Elise (Jolie), a woman I am sure most guys wouldn’t mind spending time with (although I can’t say I’m honestly one of those guys).  Anyway, little does this tourist know, at first, that Elise is using him to throw Scotland Yard police off the trail of her lover, Alexander Pearce, a criminal wanted in 14 countries and who has stolen money from all the wrong people.  This obviously puts Depp’s character in some crazy and awkward predicaments.  And what would a movie be without a little love interest?  Yes, Elise ultimately likes this tourist, but does she really?  Or is she just using him and all of this is still an act?  If you want to know, then you will have to just watch this, won’t you?

But hey, I’m a nice guy.  Let me save you some of the suspense and maybe some money too.  The movie’s scenery is just plain gorgeous.  I know, as I guy I should not be using that kind of vocabulary, but I couldn’t help wanting to visit all the sets in real life where this movie took place.  Any Casino Royale fan would feel the same, I think.  But it’s the slow moving nature of this film that drags itself under.  Coupled with the fact that Jolie and Depp really never sizzled onscreen together and a predictable plot twist that genre fans can clearly see coming from the very beginning and you have a film that truly does not warrant a repeat visit or a visit at all, depending on how strongly you feel about everything I have just said.  I hate to use this saying (I really do), but “it is what it is.”  There’s nothing overly original here, the dialog is just boring and the execution of the final twist leaves a lot to be desired.  But hey, that’s just my opinion.  Quite honestly, I would rather spend my time researching online as to whether or not vampires and werewolves can get AIDS, but that’s just me.  When The Tourist comes out on Blu-ray, I will give it another chance, but I’m not expecting to be swept away, although stranger things have happened.  Have a good weekend at the movies!

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Owner/Writer/Reviewer/Editor, Dreamer, Producer, Agent of Love, Film Lover, Writer of Screenplays and a Devoted Apostle to all things Ford Mustangs (the real ones with V8's!). Some of my favorite films include FIGHT CLUB, MOULIN ROUGE, THE DARK KNIGHT, STAR WARS alongside television shows such as SEINFELD, 24, SANFORD & SON and even the often loathed in the geek community BIG BANG THEORY. Outside of my three lives I live I also enjoy spending time with my girlfriend and our three girls (of the furry kind).

6 Responses to “I Wouldn’t Travel Too Far To Catch ‘The Tourist’”


  1. Sean Ferguson

    I’m not happy to hear that you didn’t like it since I was looking forward to it. I guess this will be a rental now.

  2. Brian White

    I know. I’m sorry. Lo siento. I was looking forward to it very much too! Who would have ever thought, you know? As Aaron pointed out to me earlier today, it’s not exactly performing well (rating wise) on Rotten Tomatoes.

  3. Brian White

    BTW…just to clear the air…I believe that a vampire cannot catch AIDS (because they are dead and the virus cannot attack their immune system), but a werewolf could in fact contract the AIDS virus. Thoughts?

  4. Aaron Neuwirth

    Well yes, but a vampire could easily be a carrier, which could effectively spread the disease wider, given the multiple partners they come into contact with.

    Also, I don’t tend to gauge my own movie viewings off of what the Tomatometer is (just to clarify), but when something is getting overwhelmingly bad reviews, it certainly puts me in a particular mindset. My thoughts will surely be definite by tomorrow.

  5. Gerard Iribe

    @Brian – take out your retainer.

  6. Gregg Senko

    Why did I have a feeling this would happen? Payroll for this film must have been astronomical, yet the trailer’s footage did little to draw me to a theater. I was going more for the star power, but I guess no matter who you bring into a film, if the story’s “meh,” the film will be nothing more than soda without the fizz.