The Tourist review

There’s been some confusion over The Tourist. Is it a thriller? Is it a comedy? Anyone who thought they knew kept it quiet, just in case they ended up with egg on their faces when it turned out they’d taken the wrong punt. A remake of the 2005 French film Anthony Zimmer, it looks, at first glance, to be dripping with the kind of impossibly dangerous glamour that infuses some of the better Bond films. Two of the prettiest people in the world! Intrigue! Mystique! At the time of writing, IMDb thinks it’s a drama/thriller. It’s really not.

Maybe it’s the moment when Depp opens his mouth and reveals that, while Jolie’s doing her foxiest femme fatale, he’s been charged with doing his best bumbling idiot. The Tourist has about as much steely tension as a puppy rolling over so you can tickle its tummy, but it will tickle you. The script is amusing, though it could have been much more so, had it only decided to be a comedy and stick to being funny, rather than making the odd half-hearted stab at dramatic tension.

Jolie is Elise Clifton-Ward, a suspended spy who’s been watched by her employers. Depp is Frank Tupelo, an American tourist who’s mistaken for her former partner, Alexander Pearce, a private banker who went rogue (apparently they can do that, though it’s doubtful whether a renegade banker on the run is particularly appealing in these credit crunching times). Why? Don’t they know what his face looks like? Well, no, because he might’ve had plastic surgery. Which means Inspector John Acheson (Paul Bettany), who’s desperate to catch Pearce, has quite the task on his hands.

The Tourist isn’t a bad film, exactly, it’s just one to watch with informed expectations. You might expect pairing Depp with Jolie to result in the most explosive on-screen chemistry since, um, Mr and Mrs Smith. Just because they’re pretty, doesn’t mean they have to fancy each other (whatever the rest of the world may think), but they should be able to act like it. While Depp’s character’s meant to be socially inept and clearly lacks a knack with the ladies, there are points at which you’d expect The Tourist to be positively boiling over with sexual tension, but it never does. Which is great for Vanessa Paradis, don’t get us wrong, but who would’ve thought Depp and Jolie could star in a film together and make the most unconvincing screen couple we’ve seen in ages.

The Tourist at IMDb

Stuart O'Connor is the Managing Editor of Screenjabber, the movie review website he co-founded with Neil Davey far too many years ago. He likes all genres, as long as the film is good (although he does enjoy the occasional bad "guilty pleasure"), and drinks way too much coffee.

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