the tourist

on Monday, April 4, 2011

The Tourist

Directed by: Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck (The Lives of Others)

Starring: Johnny Depp (Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, Dark Shadows, The Rum Diary), Angelina Jolie (Kung Fu Panda 2, Salt, Changeling), Paul Bettany (Priest, Iron Man 2), Timothy Dalton (Toy Story 3), Steven Berkoff (A Clockwork Orange, Beverly Hills Cop) and Rufus Sewell (Dark City, A Knight’s Tale)

The characters are so full of mystery and intrigue viewers begin to forget whose tripping and trapping the other. The new GK Films thriller ‘The Tourist,’ starring Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp, at first makes its viewers believe certain characters are trying to capture their obvious enemies. But as any tourist knows, the further people dig into the unknown, the more mysteries and surprises they’ll come across.

‘The Tourist’ plays an interesting twist on the current crime thriller genre. The plot follows the British police, led by Inspector John Acheson (played by Paul Bettany), as they track wanted criminal Alexander Pearce after he embezzled $2 billion from a known mobster. The police want to collect their $775 million that’s owed to them in back taxes from the stolen money. In an effort to get to Alexander, the police are also tracking his girlfriend Elise Ward (portrayed by Jolie), as they believe he will make contact with her.

As a way to throw the police off their trail, Elise boards a train and travels from Paris to Venice. While on-board, she picks up tourist, Frank Taylor (played by Johnny Depp), an American math teacher from Wisconsin who’s traveling throughout Europe. She convinces the mobsters and police that Frank is really Alexander, and Frank is left wondering how he became involved in Elise’s plot.

‘The Tourist’s distinctive action approach made it stand out from Jolie’s previous entries in the genre. Instead of relying on just gigantic stunts to visually draw people into the simplistic plot-line, the movie’s director and co-writer, Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, made the right decision to focus on Elise and Frank’s relationship. Even though Jolie and Depp are two of the biggest movie stars in the world, the two have a great chemistry together, and their great acting abilities will convince viewers that they genuinely care for each other. While many of the movie’s major plot-lines are revealed in its trailers, the developing relationship between Elise and Frank and their continuous need to want to protect each other makes viewers forget that fact.

The film also distinguished itself from other thrillers, as it focused on Elise and Alexander’s getaway from the police, instead of the actual embezzlement. After many heist movies, viewers are left wondering how the characters continue to invade the police and their victims after they finish stealing the money. ‘The Tourist’ is able to answer that question, while adding more suspense and intrigue. Elise and Alexander seem to have put just as much effort into getting away with their crimes as they did with pulling them off.

Like any other well-crafted action movie, Henckel von Donnersmarck was able to raise questions in between his well-crafted stunts. For example, he made people wonder when Elise and Alexander will finally reunite, and why Frank was chosen to be part of their plot in the first place. The film proves that getting the money is only half the battle; evading the police to keep the money is another job in itself.

A remake of the 2005 French romantic thriller ‘Anthony Zimmer,’ ‘The Tourist’ is not only a cat-and-mouse game between Elise, Alexander and the police, but also between Elise and Frank as well. After the film went through several directorial changes, and several A-list stars, including Tom Cruise and Charlize Theron, dropped out of the project, GK Films, the movie’s studio, made the right decision in hiring Henckel von Donnersmarck, Depp and Jolie. Not only did ‘The Tourist’ deserve its PG-13 rating for violence and brief strong language for its stunts and interesting relationships, Jolie and Depp are also worthy of admiration. The two were so committed to their roles they perfectly complemented each other.

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