Cinema

The Tourist: Plot holes aplenty

In this film publicity image released by Sony Pictures, Johnny Depp, left, and Angelina Jolie are shown in Columbia Pictures' "The Tourist." (AP Photo/Sony Pictures, Columbia Pictures)

In this film publicity image released by Sony Pictures, Johnny Depp, left, and Angelina Jolie are shown in Columbia Pictures' "The Tourist." (AP Photo/Sony Pictures, Columbia Pictures)

The movie opens with a mysterious woman reading a letter in a sunny Paris café. The letter tells her to head to the station, catch the 8.22 to Venice and find a man who matches the sender's height and build. She burns the letter and heads to the station. She is being watched by Inspector John Acheson from the Metropolitan Police.

The woman, Elise, catches the train and picks Frank, a math teacher from Wisconsin. Acheson is on the trail of a master criminal Alexander Pierce. He is following Elise, Pierce's ex-lover, who is expected to rendezvous with Pierce sooner or later.

Also on Elise's tail is a gangster, Reginald Shaw, from whom Pierce has stolen an enormous sum of money. There is also a strange Englishman in the mix. Elise succeeds in confusing the pursuers using Frank as a blind, in the process Frank and Elise discover feelings for each other.

The Tourist seems to have drawn inspiration from To Catch a Thief with the gentleman thief, equally gentlemanly detectives and thugs complete with the mysterious femme fatale, the innocent bystander and a denouement at a glitzy ball.

While the setting, Venice, is perfect and the clothes are lovely, the film gives out a feeling of playing a part, of being phony. Yes, cinema is all about creating an illusory world, but someone needs to believe in the world to get the audience into that willing suspension of disbelief.

A remake of a French film, Anthony Zimmer , The Tourist looks like all the actors are playing dress up in this picture perfect world. The complete lack of chemistry between the leads Angelina Jolie (Elise) and Johnny Depp (Frank) does not help either. And because the film is not engrossing, one begins to ask questions and then the film just falls through enormous plot holes.

The cast is all round excellent from Paul Bettany as the Pierce-obsessed Acheson to Timothy Dalton as the avuncular Chief Inspector Jones. Johnny Depp is extraordinary as the mousy math teacher called upon to do superhuman feats. While Jolie looks lovely (she could put on some weight though), she is essentially playing Jolie, which would not be such a bad thing if only she would put some heart into it.

Director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck (he made the extraordinary Academy Award winning Life of Others ) wanted to do a lighter film. Now with The Tourist out of the way, maybe he will go back to making all-round brilliant movies.

The movie is quite funny in parts and handsome looking but not engaging. Hence the pageant, like the poet said, is beautiful but meaningless.

The Tourist

Genre: Romance/thriller

Cast: Johnny Depp, Angelina Jolie, Timothy Dalton, Paul Bettany, Rufus Sewell

Director: Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck

Storyline: A mysterious woman, an innocent tourist, a criminal on the run and picturesque Venice

Bottomline: Stunning looking, Depp rocks but the film is missing chemistry


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Printable version | May 15, 2022 12:57:36 am | https://www.thehindu.com/features/cinema/The-Tourist-Plot-holes-aplenty/article15608194.ece