The Tourist is irrefutable proof that even the best names in the business have bad movie days. The talent on this movie has enough awards to fill up a room.
It's directed by Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, who earlier made the Oscar-winning The Lives of Others. The co-writers include Christopher McQuarrie who won an Oscar for The Usual Suspects and Julian Fellowes who won an Oscar for Gosford Park. The costumes are done by Colleen Atwood, who has won not one but two Oscars. And of course, the icing on the cake is that The Tourist is the first pairing of two of the world's biggest and most beautiful stars: Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp.
The two play out a dangerous game involving billions of dollars, deceit, a ruthless gangster and Scotland Yard, in one of the world's most gorgeous cities: Venice. Jolie is Elise Ward, the impossibly glamorous woman of mystery who doesn't have a hair out of place even as she races speedboats in Venetian canals.
Depp is Frank, the math teacher from Wisconsin who meets her on a train and then finds himself becoming the target of Russian mobsters. This should have Hitchcock on steroids: sexy and super-fun. Instead we get a leaden-footed caper that never takes off.
The story is nonsensical, which would be forgivable if the stars lit up the frame. But intriguingly Jolie and Depp have zero chemistry. With her chiseled cheekbones and jaw-dropping outfits, Jolie is icy and remote. She almost feels like a super-human descended among us ordinary mortals. And unfortunately Depp doesn't do ordinary too well. He just ends up looking bewildered, even bored.
I got through the film by focusing on Jolie's jewelry. In the climax, she wears a stunning diamond choker and earrings. But you know that something is terribly off when amidst so much star wattage you're checking out stones. I'm going with two stars.