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Sunday, Dec. 19, 2010

The Tourist

Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp’s Caper

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The police are watching. Elegant as Jackie O., Elise (Angelina Jolie) steps out of her Paris apartment as The Tourist opens and onto the street as if it were a Vogue runway. The French cops avidly follow her movements through their cameras and Scotland Yard eyes her by remote. Detectives follow at a discrete distance as she is handed a message by a courier. The sender, Alexander, tells her to take the bullet train to Venice. The police will be her shadow. Elise’s friend Alexander stole millions of pounds and is wanted by the police of several nations as well as a grim-faced mobster who wants him dead.

The Tourist
is an OK romantic crime thriller starring Jolie and Johnny Depp as a hapless math teacher from Wisconsin who falls easily into her orbit. It will disappoint anyone expecting artistry at the level of director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck’s previous film, The Lives of Others. The Tourist is merely light entertainment with more than a couple nods to Hitchcock in its strangers meeting on a train, rooftop chases and a protagonist misidentified by the bad guys.

Accessorized with a charming English accent, Jolie is all barely restrained sexuality. Her performance can be seen as one long tease. Depp is worth watching as a slightly sulking, slightly bohemian dude who feels entirely out of his league in the presence of Elise and as the target of mobsters. The romance angle feels more drag and paste than organically developed, but provides a pivot point around a series of economically shot and edited encounters and escapades set in two of the world’s most photogenic cities.