The Tourist

 

The Tourist

Written by Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, Christopher McQuarrie & Julian Fellowes

Directed by Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck

2010

 

Cast:

Angelina Jolie

Johnny Depp

Paul Bettany

Steven Berkoff

Timothy Dalton

Rufus Sewell

 

Production:

Theatrical: GK Films & Spyglass Entertainment

Video: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

 

Video:

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1

Codec: AVC

Disc Size: 34.40 GB

Feature Size: 26.26 GB

Avg. Video Bit Rate: 24.93 Mbps

Runtime: 103 minutes

Chapters: 15

Region: All

 

Audio:

English DTS-HD MA 5.1 (48 kHz/3703 kbps/24-bit)

French DTS-HD MA 5.1

English Dolby Digital 5.1

English Dolby Digital 2.0

 

Subtitles:

English, English SDH, French & Spanish

 

Extras:

Director Commentary

A Gala Affair (7:10)

Bringing Glamour Back (9:05)

Action in Venice (6:28)

Canal Chats (5:58)

Tourist Destination: Travel the Canals of Venice (3:16)

Outtake Reel (1:25)

Screen Saver (1:46:50) self repeating with music

Movie IQ

 

Presentation:

Locking Amaray Blu-ray Case: BD x 1

(also available in BR + DVD combo edition)

Release Date: March 22, 2011



The Movie : 5

A beautiful woman introduces herself to a man on a train.  Romance, thrills and gunplay ensue.  Lives are threatened. Identities are confused. Bad guys and good guys vie for who will get to the hero and heroine first.  You got it, we are talking of that charming, amusing and underrated 1976 romantic-comedy-thriller “Silver Streak” directed by Arthur Hiller and starring Gene Wilder and Jill Clayburgh.  Perhaps you know it?  Or maybe you were thinking of Alfred Hitchcock’s “North by Northwest?”  Or perhaps Hitch’s earlier “The Lady Vanishes?”


     


About fifteen minutes into “The Tourist,” directed by Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, the man responsible for the Oscar winning “The Lives of Others”  we find ourselves in familiar territory.  The only thing we can’t be sure of yet is how the romance, comedy and thriller aspects will balance themselves out.  The director’s past record offers no clue, neither do those of his co-writers Christopher McQuarrie (the TV series “Persons Unknown,” “The Usual Suspects” and the 2008 Tom Cruise vehicle “Valkyrie”) and Julian Fellowes (“Gosford Park” “Downton Abbey”) except that the writing is likely to be smart and deceptive.  And these qualities abound in “The Tourist” - to a fault.


     


The setup is either simpler or more complicated than at first appears: Angelina Jolie plays Elise Clifton-Ward who is being tailed by agents of the good guys in hopes that she will lead them to one Alexander Pearce, a man wanted by both good guys and bad - the latter because he ripped off something like $2.3 billion from the very bad Reginald Shaw (Steven Berkoff), who hangs out with Russian assassins, and spends every other waking hour in pursuit of his onetime closest friend and associate. The former, led by Scotland Yard's Financial Crimes Division Inspector John Acheson (Paul Bettany) because Pearce owes some £744,000,000 in taxes on said money.


     


Elise sits outside at a Parisian cafe and is soon delivered of a letter from - you guessed it - Alex, giving her instructions on how they can hookup and evade their pursuers at the same time.  His recipe begins by telling her to take a particular train and cozy up to some man about his age, height and build and make those tailing her believe he’s him.  She sees Frank (Johnny Depp) sitting by himself and does as instructed.  As expected, a very dressed up Elise gets into the very dressed down Frank’s blood, and though she tries to lose him in Venice (ah, Venice!) Frank pursues her while he in turn is tailed by the good guys, now including the Italian branch of Interpol, and being shot at by Shaw’s thugs.


     


That’s quite enough of the setup of a movie which is about to get even more complicated.  And that is its charm, such as it is, for “The Tourist” has so many twists and turns, some funny, some exciting, and all taking place in a lovingly photographed Venice, there’s scarcely enough time for romance to take a natural course.  Or perhaps it’s just a lack of chemistry between the leads, which is itself surprising.  As it turns out, it hardly matters, and that’s all the more I shall say about it.


     

 

Image : 9/9

Except for the one scene that shows the high speed train from Paris to Venice hurtling through an oversaturated verdant landscape, I found the color rendering to be very good and most probably a reflection of the filmmakers’ intentions (as, doubtless, was the aforementioned glowing green).  Flesh tones, black levels, overall contrast, detail, sharpness, resolution, absence of undesirable effects (edge enhancement, DNR, banding) and cleanliness of source elements are all as we should expect in a new movie from Sony.

 

Audio & Music : 8/7

Dialogue is clear, properly shaped and located across the screen; effects (traffic, power boats, gunfire, the one or two small explosions) and music are blended with taste and make good use of the surrounds.


     

 

Extras : 6

I suspect Mr. Donnersmarck makes a better commentator than a director of his own movie.  While not entirely uncritical, he gives a practical accounting of the production issues, casting choices and especially the joys and challenges of working in Venice.  Additional details about  Production (costuming, production design, stunts, working on the cities extraordinary and varied canals) are further documented in EPK style in the five featurettes - all presented in lovely HD. The brief Outtake Reel would not have been missed had it been 85 seconds shorter.  I’d like to credit Sony for allowing us to make the choice between a single Blu-ray disc edition or one with an added DVD clone.


     

 

Recommendation : 6

A good looking production and equally lovely transfer might in part make up for the overcooked and twisted plot.  Jolie and Depp have little going for them as a couple.  Depp’s character is not really credible anyway, and Angelina delivers more recognizable emotion and humanity as the title action figure in “Salt” than here as a presumably real person.  Oddly enough the most “real” person in this movie is the bad guy: Steven Berkoff conveys the necessary outrage that a powerful man whose been hurt in bed and in the pocketbook must have to do what needs to be done to set matters straight.


     

 

 

Leonard Norwitz

© LensViews

March 10, 2011



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