Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Tourist

Starring Johnny Depp, Angelina Jolie, Paul Bettany, Timothy Dalton, and Steven Berkoff

Directed by Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck

Release Date: December 10th, 2010

A tale of espionage, mistaken identities, and romance in this Italian action thriller starring Johnny Depp, Angelina Jolie, and Paul Bettany as a remake of the 2005 French film, Anthony Zimmer.

Venice, Italy: College Professor Frank (Depp) is looking forward to a nice vacation in Italy, nothing out of the ordinary for him. Suddenly, a mysterious British woman named Elise (Jolie), strikes up a conversation with the meek professor and invites him to stay with her at a fancy hotel posing as her husband. Out of the blue, Italian Interpol agents and Russian mobsters are chasing our American everyman due to his similarity to a British criminal known as Alexander Pierce. What is Elise's connection to Pierce? Will Frank avoid capture and death but still run away with the dashing beauty?

In comparison with more modern spy thrillers like The Bourne trilogy or the 2005 remake of Casino Royale, The Tourist is a more character driven, subdued mystery. The majority of the movie is a game of cat and mouse between Frank and Elise, each trying to play aloof with their motivations and desires. Personally, I enjoyed the nuances of the film, playing off the portrayals of the actors rather than how many car chases and gun fights the characters get into (not that the movie is without action; there's a unique boat chase in the Venitian canals). Finally, the casting for the movie is great, with the A-list actors (Jolie and Depp) having wonderful chemistry and making their characters captivating and interesting. Also, there's a great villainous portrayal by Steven Berkoff as British gangster Reginald Shaw.

For fans of Charade or North by Northwest, The Tourist is an energetic and mystifiying thriller.

Rating: * * * * of 5

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