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The Tourist

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Were critics too harsh on The Tourist?

The Tourist review

Mistaken for a cyber thief while holidaying in Venice, midwestern maths teacher Frank (Johnny Depp) scrabbles to the rooftops in his flannel PJs and goosesteps to safety...

Later, yanked into a speedboat by the real cyber-thief’s mysterious girlfriend, Elise (Angelina Jolie), the pair chug away in wide-shots…

The Tourist is not The Bourne Ultimatum. Nor is it The Lives Of Others 2.

Writer/director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck instead looks to the composure and chic glamour of the capers and romantic comedy thrillers of the ’50s and ’60s for his Hollywood debut, a movie more interested in beguiling locations, shimmering costumes and immaculate coiffures than vertiginous camerawork, crash-cuts and explosions (just the one – to crack open a safe).

It’s no surprise that “aesthetic”, “elegance” and “sophistication” are the watchwords in the director’s commentary: von Donnersmarck stresses he’d stop the shoot if an extra “three rows back” was wearing the wrong lipstick.

Despite a script polish from Julian Fellowes, the wit sparkles less than Angie’s jewellery, while Depp’s goofball-ing evokes the Cary Grant of Hawks’ screwball pictures (Bringing Up Baby, I Married A War Bride) more than the Grant of Hitchcock’s urbane thrillers (North By Northwest, To Catch A Thief).

But this is not the disaster the theatrical reviews made out: its plot-turns are nimble, its setting irresistible and its intentions, realised in part, honourable.

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