Michelle reviews the Boring, Bland, Self Indulgent – The Tourist!

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In the last few years, I’ve become unashamed about walking out of movies that I don’t like and generally I don’t review those movies, but going forward I think it’s just as valid to review a film that is so bad that I walk out of as it is to review a movie that I like. So yes, I walked out, don’t bother reading the rest of this review if this very idea offends you. I see PLENTY of movies that I WANT to walk out on but don’t because it is at least interesting enough that I want to see how the terribleness ends.

The Tourist is that rare film that NEVER gets better, it starts slow and goes downhill from there and it doesn’t even succeed as an interesting disaster. It just bored me out of my skull. Once I fell asleep at about the 70 minute mark, I decided it was time for my boots to start walking. Now maybe my attitude towards this movie is shaped by the fact that I was extremely sick the day before, so maybe I was just tired when I saw this. How could this movie have gone so wrong? In one sentence it’s not a movie – it’s an Angelina Jolie Vanity piece.

This movie has some of my favorite people including Paul Bettany, Timothy Dalton, and Rufus Sewell (who does nothing during the first 60 minutes but pop up and stare). Another problem, I’ve never been a fan of Johnny Depp. He makes interesting choices and I respect him as an actor, but no matter what part he plays, he always comes across, to me, as someone who tries to hard to make his characters weird and “out there” with “over affected” ticks and mannerisms. Here he’s supposed to be a, I don’t know how to describe it – a “frompy” math teacher traveling abroad? But I never bought the character.

Director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck takes forever to get to the plot of the movie.  The first 60 minutes is almost all setup. Jolie’s character is involved with an international financier who is wanted by Scotland Yard for stealing almost a billion dollars in some kind of financial shenanigans, along the way this mystery man managed to steal money from the mob (I’m assuming Russian or maybe German).  Jolie’s lover tells her to throw the police of his trail by randomly picking some stranger on a train and making the police and everyone involved believe the stranger was him.  The police is so inept that they don’t know what this guy look like? It’s never established whether he is just some random thief or a financial Bernie Madolf – Wall Street guy who stole the $758 million. If he’s a random thief then that would maybe explain the police not knowing what the guy looks like, but if he’s a banker I’m pretty sure he would have file pictures floating around.

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Generally I hate it it when people in movies meet cute, but here it’s not even meeting cute. Jolie zeroes in on Depp and immediately dominates the guy with no effort at all. I understand it’s Angelina, what guy wouldn’t want someone like that to single you out of the crowd to be her love slave?  The problem with this premise is, it makes the “relationship” completely one sided and unbelievable.

This would not have been a problem if there was a spark of life between Jolie and Depp. At no point in this movie did I feel like these two cared about becoming these characters. I felt like I was watching a boring travelogue about what rich people do on Vacation. I’ve always wanted to go to Venice, it’s one of the most beautiful cities in the world but the way Donnersmarck filmed it, the city became as bland and lifeless as the rest of this movie.

I really wanted to like this but it simply doesn’t work. Maybe it’ll be better when it comes out on video.

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EM Review by
Michelle Alexandria

Originally Posted 12.11.2010