VOD film review: The Tourist
James R | On 28, May 2014
Director: Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck
Cast: Johnny Depp, Angelina Jolie, Paul Bettany
Watch The Tourist online in the UK: Amazon Prime / Apple TV (iTunes) / Prime Video (Buy/Rent) / TalkTalk TV / Google Play
It takes a big name to attract stars from Hollywood’s A-list. Ever since 2006’s The Lives of Others, it was clear that the man christened Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck was destined for big things. This isn’t one of them.
He had big things lined up, for sure: Angelina Jolie, Johnny Depp, Venice. He even managed to get Rufus Sewell on board for all of 10 seconds. But from the opening scene surveilling a French cafe to the moment when Elise (Jolie) meets Frank (Depp) on a train bound for Italy, it’s pretty obvious what’s going on.
She picks him because he looks a bit like Alexander Pearce, the elusive fraudster who made off with several millions of Steven Berkoff’s money. Of course, The Berkoff wants it back. And Interpol want to claim the tax. What better way to throw them all off the scent than frame a maths teaching tourist as a fall guy?
Whether you can think of a better plan is irrelevant – this is the one you’ve got. And if you don’t agree with it, then you should jolly well just stare at the scenery for two hours. That’s what a wasted Paul Bettany probably does all day as Agent Acheson (of Scotland Yard’s Financial Crimes Division). His boss (Timothy Dalton, playing Timothy Dalton) doesn’t do much to stop him.
Content with the glamorous cast and gorgeous location, events unfold at a surprisingly sluggish speed. The screenplay is happy to hang loose, never quite finding enough wit to pull off its premise – at least James Mangold’s similar Knight and Day had better jokes. It’s no shock to see the whole thing’s been written by three people; you suspect that Christopher McQuarrie wrote the beginning and end, Florian did the bit in the middle, and Julian Fellowes added in the British accents.
Things remain predictable throughout, no matter how many times people hop on and off of boats. It’s a terrible shame, because the names involved are far too grand to be given such a sloppy affair. Donnersmarck alone has three syllables. But despite Depp’s dashing looks and Jolie’s star appeal, this Hitchcockian thriller has no chemistry to speak of. When one of them declares their love for the other, it’s an honestly laughable moment. You end up wishing the film were about Rufus Sewell instead.
The Tourist is available to watch online on Amazon Prime Video as part of a Prime membership or a £5.99 monthly subscription.