by Rick Grant
This remake of the 2005 film Anthony Zimmer is all flash and weak content. The film is nothing more than a travelogue, cast with A-list actors, who are window dressing uttering mediocre dialogue.
Directed by Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, starring Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp, with a supporting cast to die for, the scenario unfolds in exotic locations like Paris and Venice. The film is overwhelmingly Hitchcockian, without the master’s subtly.
The story involves mysterious bon vivant Elise Clifton-Ward (Angelina Jolie) right out of a Channel No. 5 commercial. Elise floats around Paris like a movie star in her designer outfit. She’s looking for a patsy to make the ruthless Russian gang following her think that he is her lover and the guy who stole billions from the Russian Mafia don.
At a café, she gets a note that tells her to take a train to Venice and find a likely candidate. Meanwhile, head of British intelligence, Acheson (Paul Bethany) is using French intelligence to follow Elise. At this point, viewers don’t know why the British and French spooks are shadowing Elise.
Well, any fan of intrigue movies will figure out what the heck is going on with Elise and why she is so important. This script is so transparent a monkey could figure out the plot. This homage to Hitchcock turns into an unintentional parody of the master’s work.
On the train, Elise spots a likely person for her ruse, Frank Tupelo (Johnny Depp)–a hapless American math teacher. She sits down across from him and strikes up an absurd conversation.
Despite the demand that Depp play the role seriously, he can’t help but play Frank tongue-in-cheek and think of his big fat pay check at the end of the shoot. Jolie is dripping with sexual come-ons to entice this tourist that he might just get lucky. Fat chance.
After the train ride to Venice, Elise invites her mark to stay with her in a swanky hotel suite. Of course, Frank tags along like a puppy. It’s Angelina frigging Jolie for God’s sake, any fool would accept her invitation. Yeah, but there is something funny going on.
Soon the Russian thugs find Elise’s hotel room and break in shooting. Frank has to escape on the roof in his pajamas. In this scene, Depp is doing his best “Little Tramp” impression as he scoots across the roof tiles dodging bullets. “Wait, is this a comedy,” the viewers ask?
This film is a blatant effort to shoot an old script and use movie stars to sell the tickets. It’s typical of Hollywood’s complete disregard for quality presentations. I’m surprised it wasn’t in 3D, the latest scam by moguls to sell substandard product.
Well, heck, Jolie looks stunning, as usual, and Depp can’t help be funny. So, the cast tries to make up for the poor script. However, the film is an empty shell that will bore even the most shallow moviegoer.
The Tourist Movie Review
by Rick Grant