Imagining going on a European vacation with two of the biggest stars on the planet, it's glamorous and pure superficial indulgence. It is also the least down-to-earth cinematic venture by Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp thus far. You will expect a serious film with these two names on the poster, but instead it'll be a casual affair of expensive crime and romance in a Depp-Jolie waltz that should not be taken seriously with its preposterous plot.
Johnny Depp stars as an American tourist whose playful dalliance with a stranger leads to a web of intrigue, romance and danger in 'The Tourist'. During an impromptu trip to Europe to mend a broken heart, Frank (Johnny Depp) unexpectedly finds himself in a flirtatious encounter with Elise (Angelina Jolie), an extraordinary woman who deliberately crosses his path. Against the breathtaking backdrop of Paris and Venice, their whirlwind romance quickly evolves as they find themselves unwittingly thrust into a deadly game of cat and mouse.
Directed by Oscar-winning German Director of "The Lives of Others", "The Tourist" comes surprisingly underwhelming at the hands of Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck. While the Oscar Best Foreign Language Film is about spying in East Berlin, the espionage action in The Tourist seems to be out of wits. Perhaps this is his mean of taking a cinematic vacation with something easy-handed and no thought provokes, which if so will render itself more digestible as a mindless popcorn fare.
If you're able to deal with that, you may continue reading on.
Albeit absurdly plotted with superficial screenwriting, the most memorable dialogue scene in my opinion will probably be Elise and Frank's first meet in the train to Venice. It's full of naughty teasing that is supposed to build up the chemistry between them, which somehow failed to establish as the film progresses. You get the feeling of how desirable Elise (or rather Jolie) is as a charming lady to the average man, she keeps her upper hand of experience in dealing with men well.
After that, Jolie turns into a glamorous runway model sashaying around Venice.
While she's doing that, Depp begins his adventure like an educated Captain Jack Sparrow (notice his demeanour when he treads across the rooftop tiles) who refines himself so much that you have to remind yourself of Depp by his artist hairdo and LED cigarette.
A senseless pursue of Depp by virtue of a mistaken identity is conducted by Shaw, the gangster whose money is boldly stolen by the man he is mistaken for. It is played out like a harmless dog and bone game, which again might be indicative of the film's vacationing intentions.
Without much scripted opportunities to build chemistry that will spark off huge fires of romance explosion, all we can do as the audience is to gawk and admire the sight of these two magnetic star appeal as we follow them around Venice. This brings us to the main attraction of this "vacation".
Venice, the city of romance.
We get to take in the touristic sights of the water-logged Italian city as we follow them around wherever the screenwriters take them to. Although it is specifically defined that the role of "The Tourist" belongs to American mathematics teacher Frank, I cannot help but feel that this is not so.
As a geographical showcase of Venice, you get to take in the mesmerising sights of the city of romance with two gorgeous stars as your tour guides. With Venice guarding her gates against tourism more tightly these days in favour of self-preservation, this film could very well be the last to be shot in the Italian city. This is European vacation at its most glamorous, but certainly not because of its intriguing recent Golden Globe nominations.
Yes, you get to be The Tourist for just the price of a box office ticket.