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The Tourist - Blu-ray Review

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The Tourist Movie Review

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1 Star

Two of Hollywood’s most glamorous and cherished heartthrobs team up for what will likely go down as one of the year’s most disappointing misfires. All the blame for The Tourist’s shortcomings can’t be placed on the beautiful little shoulders of Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp however - although they certainly carry their fair share. There’s plenty to go around. Where to start? First, a little about the plot, won’t take long. Then we’ll get into where it all went so wrong.

The story is based on a little-seen 2005 French film called Anthony Zimmer. I haven’t seen it, but consensus holds that it’s a fun little 85-minute romp full of mystery, thrills and nerve-racking suspense.  Sounds like it should have been a no-brainer to work with. But instead, co-writer/director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck becomes so star-struck with his two leads, he fails to nurture any other parts of the film.

Not unlike Hitchcock’s North by Northwest – or any of the hundreds of other similarly plotted thrillers - the story is a classic tale of the innocent man who’s mistakenly pursued by mobsters and simultaneously blinded by a beautiful woman with less-than-kindly intentions. Johnny Depp is Frank Tupelo, an American tourist in Paris who finds himself in a seemingly random but ever-deliberate romantic encounter with British sophisticate, Elise (Jolie, looking especially stunning). Seems Elise is using Frank to put the Feds on his trail, rather than on her crooked lover, where they need to be. Soon these two are involved in a reckless romance that drags them through the breathtaking backdrop of Paris and Venice, before entangling them in a dangerous game of cat and mouse between Interpol detectives and deadly mobsters. Sounds fun enough, right? Wrong.

It becomes evident fairly early on that this thing’s going to be a snoozer when Frank and Elise become involved in what should have been a harrowing high-speed boat chase through the bustling canals of Venice. But instead, it turns into a boring, slow-motion boat dragging event that never gets up enough speed to outrun the armed pursuers chasing them on foot. On foot! Secondly, the film never receives any lift or sizzle from the passion of its leads. Surprisingly, The Tourist marks the first time Depp and Jolie have worked together on a film. It shows. The two actors never seem to connect with their characters, leaving us unable to believe or imagine they belong together. Frank is the ultimate ordinary man, brimming with goofy naïveté. Elise is the glamorous heroine, always aware of her immaculate appearance. While there’s something to be said for a director who knows when to step back and let his veteran cast carry a film, there’s something else to be said when a director doesn’t realize when doing so isn’t working. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work for von Donnersmarck’s film, and tragically he never realizes it.

Also rearing an ugly head of ineptitude is the amateurish script so fraught with implausibilites and impracticalities we’re never able to buy a single minute of it. Though von Donnersmarck and his co-writers have won Academy Awards for their screenwriting skills – all thrillers, I might add – they seem to have lost their way this one. Danger, suspense, and intrigue are all crucial elements of an effective thriller. But there’s no danger in The Tourist, as the bumbling police detectives constantly remind us that Frank must be taken alive. There’s no suspense either, as the ridiculously implausible “twist” is spotted so early on we’re left wagging a forefinger and uttering “oh, no they di-unt” when it finally arrives. And all intrigue is sapped from the film by the amount of suspension of belief we’re asked to endure towards characters whose meeting is based entirely on accidents and coincidences. All huge non-no’s for thrillers.

One of the few things von Donnersmarck does get right is the beautiful postcard scenery of his settings. While most likely the least cost-effective option, choosing to film on location in Paris and Venice not only allows the film to live up to its title, but also provides a much-needed frequent distraction. Drop-dead gorgeous aerial views and crane shots of the architecture lining the canals of Venice go a long way towards immersing the audience in the director’s vision. But soon enough, that pesky plot and its unenergetic cast are back it again, doing stupid things that makes no sense. It all feels like wishy-washy filmmaking, with a script that doesn’t know what it wants to be, and by a star-struck director unable to hold his own against an imposing cast.

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{2jtab: Film Info}

the Touris - Movie ReviewMPAA Rating: PG-13 for violence and brief strong language.
Director: Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck
Writer
: Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck
Cast: Angelina Jolie, Johnny Depp; Paul Bettany; Timothy Dalton
Genre: Drama | Thriller
Memorable Movie Quote: "Not when you downgrade it from murder. But when you when you upgrade it from room service, it's quite serious. "
Tagline: It all started when he met a woman.
Distributor: Columbia Pictures
Release Date: December 10, 2010
Blu-ray Release Date:
March 22, 2011

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{2jtab: Blu-ray/DVD Details}

The Tourist Blu-ray Review

Component Grades
Movie

Blu-ray Disc
1 star

4 stars



Blu-ray Experience
2.5 stars

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - March 23, 2011
Screen Formats: 2.40:1
Subtitles
: English, English SDH, French, Spanish
Audio: English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; French: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
Discs: 50GB Blu-ray Disc; Two-disc set (1 BD, 1 DVD); DVD copy; BD-Live; movieIQ

Like its cast, The Tourist looks ravishing on Sony’s 1080p transfer. The detail is crisp and exposes not just our celebrity skin, but the sparkle of the fashion and its Italian location with superb clarity. The print is free of speck and dirt and offers an exiting palette of colors – stretching across the color spectrum – that delight in perfect hues across the screen. The lossless audio is also a dynamic inclusion and makes this an all around winner of a release from Sony.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • Director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck offers the disc’s sole commentary and speaks about his film’s purpose to recapture the look of 50s/60s era Hollywood.  It’s an engaging commentary and, overall, a pretty satisfying one that fans should check out.

Special Features:

Despite its poor reception at the box office, The Tourist offers up a nice array of supplemental material that will leave its fans satisfied.  There’s a cool little promo piece, featuring the makers and the stars of the film all offering their thoughts on the film and a beautiful locale tour, too.  Also of interest is a 60s-esque animated end title sequence (which should have made it in the film), that shows just want the director was going for with this throwback film.

The Special Features are:

  • Canal Chats (6 min)
  • A Gala Affair (7 min)
  • Action in Venice (6 min)
  • Bringing Glamour Back (9 min)
  • Tourist Destination -- Travel the Canals of Venice (3 min)
  • Alternate Animated Title Sequence (2 min)
  • Outtake Reel (1 min)
  • MovieIQ
  • BD-Live
  • DVD Copy

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