Two very good looking people, a revengeful gangster, an obsessed Scotland Yard financial crime division, a case of mistaken identity, and three Golden Globe nominations to boot… a pretty good film, one would think.
In the case of ‘The Tourist’, one either enjoys it or not. Admittedly, the trailer gives one a first impression that it’s another action-packed espionage film akin to ‘The Bourne Identity’, only in a beautiful setting with sexier characters. It’s not far off, but it’s not as engaging.
Elise Ward (Angelina Jolie) is an exceptionally beautiful woman who is instructed by a certain Alexander Pearce to board a train from Paris to Venice and to pick a gentleman who is of close resemblance to him. While on the train she decides on a bumbling and seemingly insecure Maths teacher named Frank Tupelo (Johnny Depp), who is embarking on a European holiday. They spend a short time together, all the while being carefully watched by Scotland Yard’s Inspector John Acheson (Paul Bettany), Italian Interpol, and the British gangster who has been cheated by Pearce out of a good few million pounds. Tupelo is mistaken for the elusive Pearce and is on the run for his life. In between all of this, a romance sparks between the main characters, which moves the film along.
The opening scenes are very intriguing: no clues are given as to why Ward is being so closely spied on, and the guessing games begin. In fact, Oscar-winning director Florian Henkel von Donnersmarck achieves his intent of keeping the audience speculating and just when you think you’ve got the story right, it’s wrong. The film progresses with little action – those scenes with any action are hardly ones that will keep you riveted. However, there are clever twists and the climax is quite special.
Overall, there’s an emphasis that you’re watching society’s wealthiest at play. The hotels are expensive, money is of no concern, Jolie’s clothes are the epitome of glamour and style, and Depp’s tux is perfectly fitted, impeccable, and suave. It’s a lifestyle that you can either attain by being a gangster or an intelligent businessman.
Depp and Jolie were nominated for Golden Globe awards for Best Actor and Best Actress respectively, and ‘The Tourist’ was nominated for Best Picture in the comedy category. Yes, comedy. So don’t believe the trailer when you think it’s a crime film. Then again, what should you believe? What conclusion should you come to? Watch it, decide, and make a note of the hotel you must stay in, the dress to put your partner in, the boat you should hire and the tux you must have tailored to complete the picture.