Starring: Angelina Jolie, Johnny Depp, Paul Bettany
Directed by: Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck (“The Lives of Others”)
Written by: Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck (“The Lives of Others”), Christopher McQuarrie (“Valkyrie”), Julian Fellowes (“The Young Victoria”)
Hollywood star power can’t get much more extravagant than Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp. Set on a picturesque backdrop of Venice, Italy, “The Tourist,” a remake of the 2005 French film “Anthony Zimmer,” has breathtaking set pieces, but the superficial script – with all its generic twists – makes this romantic espionage thriller the perfect example of style over substance.
From German director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, who won an Academy Award for his gripping 2006 film “The Lives of Others,” “The Tourist” marks the first American feature of his career. It’s a decision von Donnersmarck might regret especially if he made more concessions than he’s used to just to sample the mainstream. It could pay off in the long run, but right now this should leave a bad taste in his mouth until the next opportunity comes up.
Depp plays Frank, a college math professor who is easily captivated by a woman he meets on a train. Although it seems like a chance encounter to Frank, Elise (Jolie) has underlying intentions. She needs Franks’s help to evade Scotland Yard (Paul Bettany is the lead detective) who is trailing Elise so she can lead them to her thieving lover Alexander (identifying Alexander is supposed to be part of the intrigue, but it’s fairly obvious to figure out who he is if you don’t get caught up in the far-fetched plot).
Despite its elegant look, “The Tourist” lacks any real intense moments where we actually think our attractive leads are in any danger. Sure, Jolie sashays as lovely as any actress, but without any character development or chemistry between her and Depp “The Tourist” is a wasted vacation.