Paris. While a not so inconspicuous van full of policemen watch, the beautiful Elise (Jolie) walks to a nearby diner and orders her breakfast. She is soon approached by what appears to be a courier bearing an envelope. One of the surveying policemen ask their supervisor, “Is HE Alexander Pierce?” The reply: “EVERYBODY is Alexander Pierce!”
Adapted from the 2005 French film “Anthony Zimmer,” “The Tourist” tries it’s best to be a little bit of everything for everyone. Suspense? Check. Romance? Check. A few laughs? Check. The story: After Elise leaves the diner she gets on a train bound for Venice. While on board she approaches lonely guy Frank (Depp) and, after some small talk, encourages him to invite her to dinner. When they get to Venice they boat over to a luxury hotel where Elise next invites Frank to her room. Watching all of this is Acheson (Bettany) who has been trying to capture the previously mentioned Mr. Pierce for some time and is now wondering if, after some great cosmetic surgery, Frank might be him. Is he?
I have to think that as a script “The Tourist” read better then it plays. We are informed that Frank loves spy novels and the various plot lines of the film seem better suited for the page then for the screen, where they could have been expanded by the written word.
Jolie and Depp play off of each other well and their scenes have a natural rhythm to them. Depp supplies the majority of the chuckles here, especially by his earnest speaking of Spanish while in Italy. Jolie is cool and collected throughout, though she does seem to melt a little when with Depp. Dressed in exquisite outfits with her hair regally done up she is reminiscent of a young Sophia Loren, though I should add that even at the age of 76, Ms. Loren remains a beautiful woman. Bettany has some fun as “Mr. Pierce’s” main pursuer as does Timothy Dalton, who plays his superior. Sitting behind his big desk with glasses on his head it is easy to imagine that James Bond has graduated to the top of MI6 and is now the new “M.” The direction is light with von Donnersmarck, who has the acclaimed “The Lives of Others” on his resume, seems content to just point his camera and shoot, making for little action but some beautiful shots of the Italian countryside.