'The Tourist' Review: A Trip Not Worth Taking

Although the Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie-starrer “The Tourist” has been faltering at the box office, it recently received unexpected support from the Golden Globe nominations. Along with a nomination for best musical or comedy, the film also earned acting nominations for both Depp and Jolie. As in many other cases, audiences were right in their distaste with it and the Hollywood Foreign Press was mistaken in its misguided support for a film that doesn’t even qualify as either a musical or a comedy.

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“The Tourist” begins with Elise Clifton-Ward (Jolie) under heavy surveillance. She sits at a European restaurant while agents watch her every move waiting for her daily routine to change. She’s a woman who stays on schedule so any deviation from it could bring the agents information on their real target: Elise’s former boyfriend and well-known thief, Alexander Pearce.

As the agents watch her, Elise receives a note from Alexander to board a train and find a stranger that resembles the missing thief. This person will help her divert attention away from the real Alexander when he arrives back in town. Frank Tupelo (Depp), an American schoolteacher, is the man that Elise chooses. Frank is amazed that such a beautiful woman wants to talk to him and he follows her every move. Soon enough, the police and the mobster that Alexander betrayed are keeping tabs on the couple and trying to figure out who Frank is and how he fits into the equation.

The police quickly determine that Frank isn’t Alexander but the mobster who wants revenge isn’t so sure. His henchmen are soon chasing Frank across rooftops. Frank knows that he’s in trouble but his attraction to Elise keeps him interested in staying close to her.

At one point in the story, Elise talks about the two sides of a piece of jewelry representing two opposing forces like good and bad. Unfortunately, “The Tourist” only represents one of those two forces: the bad one.

“The Tourist” is an adventure story with one well-known thief working with a complete stranger. The movie has a similar structure to “Knight and Day,” the disappointing Tom Cruise vehicle from this summer. “Knight and Day” suffered from an overabundance of action sequences and a lackluster female lead. “The Tourist” suffers from a complete lack of interesting action sequences and two dismal leads.

Throughout the story, the characters lack motivation. Even if you consider the twists and turns that the film offers, there are more questions at the end of the story than there are at the beginning. Many plot developments are ridiculous and utterly unbelievable. If the film had interesting characters or better action scenes, it would be more enjoyable to watch.

As it stands, “The Tourist” is an adventure story without adventure. It is a romantic story without a good romance. It is a character-driven story without strong characters. This movie is a lot of things, but during this holiday season, it is definitely not worth your time and it doesn’t deserve the recognition that the Golden Globes so generously gave it.


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