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Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck
Johnny Depp, Angelina Jolie, Paul Bettany, Timothy Dalton, Steven Berkoff, Rufus Sewell, Christian De Sica, Alessio Boni
Writing Credits:
Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, Christopher McQuarrie, Julian Fellowes, Jérôme Salle (motion picture, Anthony Zimmer)

The Perfect Trip - The Perfect Trap.

Frank (Johnny Depp), a mild-mannered American on vacation in Venice, Italy, is befriended by Elise (Angelina Jolie), a breathtakingly beautiful woman with a mysterious secret. Soon, their playful romantic dalliance turns into a complicated web of dangerous deceit as they are chased by Interpol, the Italian police, and Russian hit men in this suspense-filled, international action thriller.

Box Office:
$100 million.
Opening Weekend
$16.472 million on 2756 screens.
Domestic Gross
$67.483 million.

Rated PG-13

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
French DTS-HD MA 5.1
English Audio Descriptive Track
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 102 min.
Price: $34.95
Release Date: 3/22/2011

• Audio Commentary with Director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck
• “Canal Chats” Featurette
• “A Gala Affair” Featurette
• “Action in Venice” Featurette
• “Bringing Glamour Back” Featurette
• “Tourist Destination – Travel the Canals of Venice” Featurette
• Alternate Animated Title Sequence
• Outtake Reel
• Previews


Panasonic 50" TH-50PZ77U 1080p Plasma Monitor; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


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The Tourist [Blu-Ray] (2010)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (March 10, 2011)

With two of the world’s biggest movie stars on board, how could 2010’s The Tourist flop? Technically, it didn’t, but I think a US gross of only $67 million for a flick with Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp qualifies as serious disappointment and borders on honest to God bomb.

Which may well be the fate the film deserved. Frank Tupelo (Depp) visits Europe in an attempt to get over a broken heart. While on a train to Venice, he meets Elise Clifton-Ward (Jolie), a woman tracked by the police. They seek her old flame Alexander Pearce but don’t know what he looks like; at Pearce’s request, Elise uses Frank as a decoy to throw police off the trail of the real Pearce.

Scotland Yard Inspector John Acheson (Paul Bettany) figures out the ruse before Elise and Frank get off the train. However, not everyone in his department knows this, so some – including a mole – believe that Frank really is Pearce. This misunderstanding creates intrigue and adventure – and leads to romance as well.

In theory, at least. Tourist takes its cues from Hitchcock but lacks the taut tension of that great director’s work. While Hitchcock would create an oppressive sense of paranoia and mystery, Tourist director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck mostly just paints a lot of pretty pictures.

Indeed, Tourist often plays more like a travelogue than a thriller. I get the feeling that all involved wanted a paid vacation to Italy. It’s like they said “let’s make a movie so we can spend time in Europe and go home with big paychecks!”

I hope they all had a blast, but the resultant movie feels limp and perfunctory. The film credits a few screenwriters – including Chris McQuarrie, an actual Oscar-winner for The Usual Suspects - but I think it’s a ruse. I believe the folks involved just made up the story and dialogue as they went along; there’s no sense that an actual finished script ever existed.

With Deep and Jolie paired together, one might expect fireworks. Unfortunately, they display precious little chemistry, and neither does all that well independent of the other either. Frank is essentially a schlub, and Depp just doesn’t seem right for that character. While he’s a talented actor, he can’t make me believe he’s as clumsy and dopey as Frank; Depp’s just got too much inherent cool to pull off such a dork.

Elise is clearly much closer to the standard Jolie part, so I can’t claim she gets miscast here. However, she still doesn’t seem any more interesting than Depp, and the almost typecasting of Jolie as a seductive woman of mystery appears to lull her into boredom. Jolie feels like she’s on cruise control as she snoozes through the part.

Not that I can blame her, as the script isn’t worth her time. As I mentioned earlier, Tourist feels improvised, but not in a good way. The characters lack range or depth, and the story feels half-baked. No, I take that back: it’s tenth-baked, maybe eighth-baked at best. Where it should zig and zag, it plods. Where it should charm and delight, it bores.

Well, at least it looks nice. If you want to see pretty pictures of attractive people, you’ll enjoy The Tourist. If you crave an intriguing thriller, go somewhere else.

The Blu-ray Grades: Picture A-/ Audio B+/ Bonus B-

The Tourist appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Sony may offer the most consistently high-quality Blu-rays, and Tourist lives up to that reputation.

At all times, sharpness excelled. Even with wide shots boasted excellent clarity and delineation. With nary a smidgen of softness on display, the flick looked great. Jagged edges and moiré effects remained absent, and I also didn’t see any signs of edge enhancement. No print flaws marred the presentation.

Colors came across as warm and rich. Tourist favored a golden tone; though nighttime shots tended toward a blue vibe, much of the flick opted for a golden sensibility. The hues were always appealing. Blacks demonstrated nice depth and punch, while shadows seemed fine. A couple of low-light shots appeared a smidgen thick, but those weren’t a problem. Overall, this was a consistently attractive image.

As for the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of The Tourist, it seemed perfectly acceptable. I admit I expected something a bit more vivid, as I thought an action thriller would boast a soundfield with more constant presence. This one zipped to life on occasion but not as often as I anticipated.

Still, the soundscape added a good sense of environment, and when the action materialized, those elements fleshed out the settings well. Various components seemed well-placed and they meshed together smoothly. The different effects used the sides and rears to good advantage, and the score filled out the track in a satisfying manner as well.

Of course, audio quality always satisfied. Music was warm and lush, while speech seemed crisp and distinctive. Effects boasted good clarity and range, along with solid bass response. Nothing here dazzled, but the mix satisfied.

When we move to supplements, we locate an audio commentary from director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck. He offers a running, screen-specific look at development and getting the production going, cast, characters and performances, sets and locations, tone and pacing, cinematography, music, and a few other areas.

Von Donnersmarck provides an amiable and generally enjoyable commentary, but not one with lots of insight. He tends to praise the cast and crew a lot, and he tells us basics about the movie. He doesn’t delve into the flick with much depth, though that’s probably not a surprise given how thin the film itself is. Nonetheless, von Donnersmarck seems likable and he makes this a reasonably likable chat.

Five featurettes follow. Canal Chats occupies six minutes, one second and provides remarks from von Donnersmarck, screenwriter Julian Fellowes, stunt coordinator Simon Crane, and actor Paul Bettany. The show looks at shooting in Venice. A few interesting notes about the location’s challenges emerge, but mostly we simply hear about the town’s loveliness.

For the seven-minute, 12-second A Gala Affair, we hear from von Donnersmarck, production designer John Hutman, producer Graham King, costume designer Colleen Atwood, composer James Newton Howard, choreographer Luca Tommassini, executive producer Lloyd Phillips and actors Angelina Jolie and Rufus Sewell. “Gala” covers set design, costumes, choreography and music, with an emphasis on the big party sequence. Unlike the fluffy “Canal”, this one provides solid details about the production.

Next comes Action in Venice. It runs six minutes, 29 seconds and features von Donnersmarck, Jolie, Phillips, Crane, King, stunt co-coordinator Wade Eastwood, producer Tim Headington, and actors Vladimir Tevlovski and Johnny Depp. “Action” details the movie’s boat chase sequence. Like “Gala”, it sticks with useful facts and gives us a nice take on the topic.

Bringing Glamour Back lasts nine minutes, eight seconds and offers statements from von Donnersmarck, King, Hutman, Sewell, Jolie, Depp, Bettany, Phillips, Atwood, Fellowes, Newton Howard, and actors Steven Berkoff and Timothy Dalton. “Glamour” discusses the director’s impact on the film, shooting in Venice, sets and costumes, the cast, and score. This one acts as a general take on the production, so expect a few decent facts among the fluff.

Finally, Tourist Destination – Travel the Canals of Venice goes for three minutes, 17 seconds. It includes material from Depp, King, Jolie, Dalton, von Donnersmarck, Sewell, Berkoff, Bettany, and Fellowes. The program’s message? Venice is beautiful! Yawn.

An Alternate Animated Title Sequence fills two minutes, 14 seconds. It provides exactly what the name implies: a cartoon sequence to accompany the credits. It’s not particularly interesting.

After this we find an Outtake Reel. This piece runs one minute, 26 seconds and shows some bloopers along with comments from Bettany, Depp and Jolie. I’m not a fan of most gag reels, and this one seems especially forgettable.

The disc launches with promos for Soul Surfer, How Do You Know, and Inside Job. These also appear under Previews along with an ad for Country Strong. No trailer for Tourist shows up here.

With Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie matched together, The Tourist could’ve been a contender. Alas, it falls almost entirely flat, as the thriller lacks zip or drama. The Blu-ray comes with excellent visuals, good audio and a modest mix of supplements. Despite all its promise, The Tourist flops.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3.3157 Stars Number of Votes: 38
10 3:
View Averages for all rated titles.

Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main