Directed by: Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck
Premise: An American (Johnny Depp) traveling across Europe finds himself the target of law enforcement and organized crime when he takes up with a mysterious woman (Angelina Jolie).
What Works: In the first half hour of the film, Johnny Depp uses his considerable comedic talents to lighten the mood and allow the audience a point of entry into the story.
What Doesn’t: The Tourist has two main flaws. The first is its point of view. In a mistaken identity story, the perspective should be placed around the character that has been misidentified. The Tourist does not do that, framing the story around Angelina Jolie’s mystery woman. As a result she becomes far less mysterious and even less interesting. As it is, Jolie’s femme fatale shtick has been overplayed in a variety of roles in other movies and in The Tourist she is especially bland. The story does not give her character’s intentions any ambiguity and with her agenda exposed the mystery of the film is dead in the water. This becomes a problem throughout the middle of the film, which has little or no rising action. The other major flaw of The Tourist is its ending. The climax of the film tries to pull an unexpected reversal and the result, which is often the case in twist endings, is a messy and stupid snare in the narrative. It makes no sense and has a ripple effect, causing the plot points and the actions of the characters leading up to the ending to look equally ridiculous.
Bottom Line: The Tourist is a badly conceived and poorly executed film. Although Depp does what he can to lighten the mood, this is mystery story without any intrigue.
Episode: #319 (December 19, 2010)