Tuesday, December 28, 2010
European in style and Hitchcockian in nature, "The Tourist" will come as a disappointment for most mainstream audiences. The problem occurs when you attach two of the biggest stars on the planet (known mostly for action films) and you don't give them the big "Hollywood" action film the audience expects. Earlier this year, George Clooney failed for the same reason in "The American".
Angelina Jolie is the mystery woman Elise and Johnny Depp is Frank, the title character. Ms. Jolie is actually terrific in the role, glamorous, mysterious, and dangerous all at the same time. Mr. Depp is terribly miscast as Frank and their lack of chemistry proves the point. Mr. Depp can be many things but coming across as a mild mannered math teacher from Wisconsin is not one of them.
The film is directed by Florian Henckel von Donnersmark, who did a brilliant job on "The Lives of Others". Here, as a European director, he is asked to do an American remake of a French film that will appeal to American audiences. This is not Mr. Henckel von Donnersmark's strength and he ends up with a hybrid of styles that ultimately fail. The only star here that really shines is Venice (where the film takes place) as the beauty of the city is revealed through the director's eye.
Some foreign films, in the wrong hands, just don't translate well into American films. If you were intrigued by the idea of "The Tourist", seek out the French original, "Anthony Zimmer". I hear it's terrific.