With a film of such critical acclaim as 2006’s The Lives of Others under his belt, it is absolutely unfathomable as to how Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck has managed to create a film so desperately pathetic and unforgivably cringe-inducing as The Tourist (2010).
Set in and around the glamorous and visually resplendent city of Venice, von Donnersmarck immediately makes clear his intentions with The Tourist. The ‘plot’ is so unimaginative and lacking in substance that quite how this film ever got made is something of a mystery, let alone how it drew the interests of Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp. It’s generic formula of ‘is he or isn’t he’ a spy, combined with the lazy narrative and painfully predictable ending, make for truly awful viewing.
Although von Donnersmarck should probably be held as the key figure responsible for piecing together this cinematic abomination, the efforts of Depp and Jolie are equally shameful and loathsome; turning in performances of such cynical, money-grabbing laziness that they may as well have worn price tags around their necks throughout.
Quite why actors of this calibre still feel the need to resort to plumbing such depths in order to stretch the zeros of their bank balances even further is simply beyond me. There really can be no justification for appearing in this kind of dross merely for the money, which is very evidently the case here. However, it is Jolie whom I am most disappointed with, as she has regularly shown herself to be one of the finest talents in the business. One needs look no further than Changeling (2008) and A Mighty Heart (2007) for proof of her undisputed talent.
Depp, on the other hand, has managed to get by on a series of projects ranging from the poor to the abysmal for quite some time now, yet, somehow, has a reputation that has remained intact. Each of his turns as Jack Sparrow has been increasingly desperate, with the irksome Keith Richards shtick growing ever more tiresome with each film.
Yet, these performances are master classes in comparison to his disastrous performance as Willy Wonka in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005) and his lacklustre interpretation of The Mad Hatter in Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland (2010). How he keeps acquiring work and maintaining his ‘cool’ status really is a mystery.
So, if there is one lesson to be learnt from watching The Tourist, it is that one should approach any future Johnny Depp release with extreme caution. Unless, of course, you enjoy vacuous, puerile and purely money-driven cinema, in which case, I thoroughly recommend you buy this DVD at once.