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Capone goes on a little trip with Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie in THE TOURIST!!!

Hey everyone. Capone in Chicago here.

For a film that's got a Great Big Mystery at its center, THE TOURIST is a ridiculously simple film to figure out; it's told in the most straightforward way possible; and it manages to take a fairly conventional path toward decent entertainment. That sounds like a back-handed compliment, I know. I've never forgotten that it's possible to thoroughly enjoy a film even if it refuses to challenge you in any way. And usually when that happens you have a the actors to thank.

I actually expected something a bit deeper from director and co-writer (along with Christopher McQuarrie and Julian Fellowes) Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, whose 2006 Oscar-winning foreign offering THE LIVES OF OTHERS was a triumphant examination of loneliness set in the world of clandestine listening. I was encouraged when the opening sequence in THE TOURIST involved surveillance as well. Beginning in Paris, a group of mostly British agents are spying on Elise (Angelina Jolie, who struts around this film like she knows she's Angelina Jolie and that those who enter her gravity can't help but look at her). But it's not Elise they want, but the man she's involved with and hasn't seen for a year, Alexander Pierce. When she is finally contacted by Pierce, he instructs her to take a train to Venice, pick out a man of his approximate height and build, and somehow get those who are following her on the wrong scent. Agent Acheson (Paul Bettany) is the man leading the hunt for Pierce, although his boss (an appropriately smug Timothy Dalton) doesn't think he's up to the task.

Once on the train, Elis singles out Frank (Johnny Depp), an exotic-looking math teacher from Madison, WI as her decoy, and she comes on strong, even invited him to spend the night at her fancy hotel suite (on the sofa, of course). The key to their relationship isn't as clear cut as chemistry; in a way, it has to be anti-chemistry for a time. Frank knows that even talking to someone like Elise is out of his depth, but he doesn't spend much time questioning his good fortune and goes along for the ride... until people start shooting at him. The Brits figure out early that Frank isn't Pierce, but some misinformed Russian gangsters whom Pierce stole money from never got the memo. They want their money back and Pierce dead. The action sequences in THE TOURIST are actually quite fun, and having them staged against a backdrop as gorgeous as Venice was a smart choice.

And that's pretty much the movie. Sure, there's more chasing, Frank gets captured, he escapes with Elise's help, and eventually Pierce reveals himself. But before he does, Elise develops a strong affection for Frank's plain-spoken, charming ways. It's perhaps not much of a stretch to believe that Elise might fall for someone who looks like Johnny Depp--some might say it was the biggest leap in logic of the entire film--but Depp does a credible job dweebing it up a bit. Not much he can do about those looks, however.

There are a couple of twists in the back half of the film--one big one I saw coming from the trailers and one lesser one I didn't. But THE TOURIST isn't so much about the bends in the plot as it is about placing two of the world's most desirable people in the middle of a truly exquisite location. For as much as Depp is dialing the sexy back, Jolie is aiming for something just above smoking hot. There is literally a brief shot at the beginning of the film that is nothing more than a celebration of her (clothed) ass. But even Jolie in seductress mode is holding back somewhat in this PG-13 affair, but it still works. You can almost catch Elise cracking herself up that her most obvious moves are working so well on this rube.

There's nothing grippingly wrong with THE TOURIST (a remake of the 2005 French film ANTHONY ZIMMER), but once all is revealed, certain assumptions and plot elements from earlier in the film seem far fetched to be sure. Bettany is perhaps a little too tightly wound and one-dimensional as the pursuer, and whenever Elise and Frank narrowly escape his grasp, he tends to break out the equivalent of Homer Simpson's "Why you little..." Still, I'm pretty sure THE TOURIST isn't meant to be taken all that seriously. You can almost spot the leads winking a little at the audience as the absurdity of the story grows over time. Often, when you can tell the actors are having fun, that doesn't always translate into a good time for the audience. But in this instance, everything is largely in synch. Depp and Jolie are a solid pairing, and maybe one day they'll make a real movie together. In the mean time, this is a decent warm-up act.

-- Capone

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  • Dec. 10, 2010, 2:15 a.m. CST

    Was never really quite sure about this film.

    by CodeName

  • Dec. 10, 2010, 2:16 a.m. CST

    For any reason I thought this was a comedy.

    by DerLanghaarige

    I saw the trailer only once and it was a while ago, but it had this light hearted comedy vibe.

  • Dec. 10, 2010, 2:32 a.m. CST

    Angelina's face

    by yodalovesyou

    Courtesy of the Jim Henson puppet shop.

  • Dec. 10, 2010, 2:35 a.m. CST

    why you little...

    by alice133

    depp looks like some kinda badass mega sexy pirate in this.

  • Don't know what changed his mind. But I guess the best you can out of a movie that you aren't 100% behind is having a good time.

  • Dec. 10, 2010, 3:24 a.m. CST

    It will hit the top five and then....

    by MonkeyManReturns

    ...disappear as one of those movies people forget until the film name props up in some quiz...and then we'll be like "what was that movie called again?

  • Dec. 10, 2010, 5:38 a.m. CST

    Johnny Depp Looks Like A Fool In This Movie

    by Media Messiah

    On paper, this would seem like perfect casting, Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie, right (?), but Depp looks small, as compared to her, and physically, he looks awkward in the role. Also, the bearded look...that somebody apparently thought would be cool, does not work, and the jackets that he, Depp, is wearing...appear to have been intentionally made overly bulky, with square shoulders...and all, in an effort to make him seem bigger, but he just looks like a little boy, one whom is wearing clothes that are 3 sizes bigger than they should be. Depp's appearance and nuances, in this role, are ridiculous.

  • Dec. 10, 2010, 5:50 a.m. CST

    agree about the beard

    by elsewhere

    just looks weird.

  • Dec. 10, 2010, 6:02 a.m. CST

    Angeline and Johhny Depp are a couple of one-note actors!

    by HollywoodHellraiser

    They do nothing to stretch their acting creds and instead plays in some of the lamest movies around.<p>Both have talent but rarely flexes their acting muscles because they just want to make movies that are easy and can make money.<p>This looks like the same shit that Angeline Jolie have been churning out for several years and each time she coming off more and more as unconvincing!

  • Dec. 10, 2010, 7:28 a.m. CST

    "An exotic-looking math teacher from Madison, WI"

    by mastermold

    Obviously Depp was going straight from this to shooting Pirates of The Carribean so he saw no need to change his looks. Not his best acting choice. At least Jolie is lip-smacking hot.

  • Dec. 10, 2010, 8:24 a.m. CST

    This is a test angry rant

    by James_Camera_On

    If this were a real post I would say something like "I'm surprised this wasn't hyped as the best movie of the year but I guess Harry hasn't chimed in yet. For the rest of us who read real reviews from real critics (e.g. the Tourist is being bombed as a bore fest and is getting some of year's worse reviews." But since this is not a real post I can only say I can't wait to see this film. I'm heading to the theater right now. Another Great Review!

  • Dec. 10, 2010, 9:54 a.m. CST

    i cringed when Depp signed on for this

    by Reckoner

    I guess living for 3-4 months in Venice on a boat was too much to resist, even for him...

  • Dec. 10, 2010, 10:59 a.m. CST

    Warmed over North by Northwest

    by JML9999 IMDB North by North west Middle-aged Madison Avenue advertising executive Roger O. Thornhill is mistaken for a government agent by a gang of spies. He gets involved in a series of misadventures and is pursued across the States by both the spies and the government whilst being helped by a beautiful blonde. Cary Grant Ad exec is now Johnny Depp math teacher. Eva Marie Saint beautiful replaced by Non Blond Angelina Jolie

  • Dec. 10, 2010, 11:03 a.m. CST

    This is the first positive (albeit, begrudgingly) review

    by Subtitles_Off

    of this movie I've seen. I really, really loved THE LIVES OF OTHERS, but I think I'm going to be skipping this one, after all. Angelina Jolie just doesn't do it for me any more.

  • Dec. 10, 2010, 11:11 a.m. CST

    Depp's getting hammered on this one.

    by Subtitles_Off

    Has all of the blockbuster stuff and palling around with Burton ruined him? As for Jolie --- "swimming with disease"!!! HA!!! Right ON --- she's skating, again, on the shape of her ass. How she became The New Millenium's Julia Roberts escapes me. (Even as I'll admit that's not the most ambitious title to ascribe to in the first place.)

  • Dec. 10, 2010, 11:11 a.m. CST

    MOvie is boring ASS

    by doom master

    All you think about in this is Jack Sparrow Meets Evelyn Salt. You can tell based on Jolie's interviews she likes Depp because he's a clown, not a sex symbol, because theyre chemistry together is so bland it takes you out of the movie. Jolie comes off as little more than one of those strippers who drifts over to your shoulder and starts whoring themselves for a lapdance, saying anything and everything you wanna hear, but you're still a fat tub of schlub and bottom line is they arent attracted to you in the slightest.. Poor Depp...he shoulda wore a big red nose during this performance.

  • Dec. 10, 2010, 11:26 a.m. CST

    I have to click on every individual comment to read them all?

    by slone13

    WHAT. THE. FUCK? How about a "Read all" option?

  • Dec. 10, 2010, 11:32 a.m. CST

    No slone

    by Subtitles_Off

    Click twice on "+ expand all" in the blue bar at the top of the Talkback.

  • Dec. 10, 2010, 12:28 p.m. CST

    The trailer isn't doing this flick any favors.

    by Orbots Commander

    It makes it look like a generic romantic thriller pilot on NBC or something. Depp even looks bored in the frickin' trailer; of course he's going to look like he sleep walked through the movie.

  • Dec. 10, 2010, 12:32 p.m. CST

    BTW, the new talkbacks are kind of FAIL.

    by Orbots Commander

    New posts appear at the top? And the font and over all design is odd. Again, you guys would have been better off just signing up with Disqus.

  • Dec. 10, 2010, 1:13 p.m. CST

    Depp has The Rum Diary

    by Reckoner

    coming out, but it was filmed over a year ago and I think it is delayed til next fall... I'm really looking forward to it. Loved the book.

  • Dec. 10, 2010, 2:39 p.m. CST

    I thought that was Eddie Vedder!

    by BadMrWonka

    now that I know it's Depp...well...OK, I guess it doesn't change anything. I'm still not going to see a movie like this.

  • Dec. 10, 2010, 5:54 p.m. CST

    Let's Play Hollywood Wheel of Fortune

    by treatment

    First Spin - Johnny Depp ...........Second Spin - Angelina Jolie ......*Suit #1 - great, those two haven't been in a movie together yet! ......*Suit #2 - get someone on a script ASAP, doesn't even matter what it's about!

  • Dec. 11, 2010, 4:08 a.m. CST

    The film bombed . . . it should be out on DVD REALLLLLY SOON

    by JonChambers

  • Dec. 11, 2010, 7:37 a.m. CST

    It's official.. Capone's reviews stink

    by LargoJr

    I know 2 people who have seen this, and they BOTH said it was twice as bad as Salt, and easily the worst film either one of these two have worked on. It's too bad Capone can't just come out and say the movie sucks.. might have saved him some last shred of his credibility.

  • Dec. 11, 2010, 3:32 p.m. CST


    by RowKseat25

    so you do look for plot and characters? Not just helmet-cams on stunt men throwing themselves off buildingszzzzzzz and sucking off Bay?... Did say I was out of here... but your articles draw me back... because they are so devoid of any merrit... so I'm going to stick it out until 1am gmt... and then I'm gone... but your Bay piece was shameful... you as a geek shouldn't be sucked in by 'exclusive footage'... after all these years you must realise that is just a desperate ruse.. desperation? Us geeks look to you guys (or used to) for honest crits of awful overhyped movies coming our way... and in the current financial climate your job is to stear us towards worthwhile film... Quint is on the money... you and Harry just cost us bucks.

  • Dec. 11, 2010, 4:42 p.m. CST

    1 HR N' A HALF LEFT...

    by RowKseat25

    Copone you lost me with Bay article/s... so whatever you say is dirrt. AIC needs a new non-biased honest crowd of writers... fresh blood... that are not in the pocket of studios.... or it will just die... and we will get borrred. Read the latest posts wydoncha?

  • Dec. 11, 2010, 6:26 p.m. CST

    3 mins to go...

    by RowKseat25

    love to know what ass licking freebies you got for this article Capone? Hope it was worth it... take a note from Quint... he doesn't just tow the studio line...

  • Dec. 11, 2010, 10:33 p.m. CST

    Jolie and Depp. That wasn't a movie, that was a deal.

    by kabong

  • Saw the movie this weekend and don't consider it a waste of my time. I'll probably never watch it again, but it had some really good moments.

  • Saw the movie this weekend and don't consider it a waste of my time. I'll probably never watch it again, but it had some really good moments.