Before Angelina Jolie took a three-and-a-half-year hiatus from making films, she starred in a genre-confusing film with Johnny Depp. The confusion didn’t make for a poor film, thankfully, and now it can be seen on the super streamer Netflix.
The Tourist stars Angelina Jolie as Elise Clifton-Ward who, when we first see her, is being followed through downtown Paris by French police, who are working in conjunction with Scotland Yard under the direction of Paul Bettany’s Inspector John Acheson.
Elise is being followed because she is the lover of Alexander Pearce, a man who owes £744 million in back taxes and who is also believed to have had plastic surgery to no longer be recognized. Not only does Scotland Yard want a piece of Pearce, but mobster Reginal Shaw is also on his tail for stealing $2.3 billion from him.
While Elise is at a Paris café, she receives a note from Pearce telling her to board the train to Venice and while on the train, pick out a random man and let the police and Scotland Yard think he is Pearce. She burns the note.
Johnny Depp is Frank Tupelo, a math teacher from Wisconsin, that Elise chooses. She cuddles up to him on the train, inviting him to stay at the Hotel Danieli in Venice. With Frank reeled in, Elise is then instructed by Pearce to attend a ball. There she dumps Frank, who is now being chased by Shaw’s men. Frank is about to be handed over to Shaw when Elise steps in and rescues him. Turns out, Elise is actually an undercover agent for Scotland Yard who has been on suspension for her dealings with Pearce.
Frank isn’t out of the woods just yet and either is Elise. Frank is taken into custody while Elise is nabbed by Shaw. He wants to know where the safe is that Pearce is keeping his money. After Frank escapes the clutches of the police, he confronts Shaw, claiming that he is, in fact, Pearce. He will open the safe if Shaw agrees to release Elise. Seems Frank is smitten.
Instead, Shaw tells Frank he will torture Elise until Frank opens the safe. Does true love prevail? Who actually is Alexander Pearce?
Critics of The Tourist were confused with the movie’s tone. Is it an action thriller? Is it a comedy? The film was written by a trio of writers to include the movie’s director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck and co-writers Christopher McQuarrie (The Usual Suspects) and Julian Fellowes. When pressed, Henckel von Donnersmarck has claimed neither, stating the film could fall into the travel romance genre (if there is such a genre) with elements of a thriller. He did also say that if he truly had to make a choice, he’d call his movie a comedy. Hmm.
While critics came away confused, audiences were not. The Tourist was made for $100 million (we are sure much of that went to certain actors’ salaries) and the smart pairing of Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp brought home a bit over $278 million at the box office.
The Tourist marked the last Angelina Jolie film before her three-and-a-half-year departure from films. From 2011-2014, Jolie didn’t appear in one single film other than lending her voice to the sequel, Kung Fu Panda 2. When she returned to the big screen, it was in a big way with the 2014 Disney hit Maleficent.
The thrice-married Angelina Jolie (to Johnny Lee Miller, Billy Bob Thornton, and Brad Pitt) has kept herself out of the limelight for the past few years. Since 2015, Jolie has appeared in only four films, By the Sea, Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, Come Away, and this year’s Those Who Wish Me Dead. During that time Jolie has also loaned out her vocal talents in the features Kung Fu Panda 3 and The One and Only Ivan.
Her future schedule doesn’t appear to be extensive as she has Marvel’s Eternals already in the can with a premiere date of November 5, 2021. Also on tap for Jolie is Every Note Played a feature based on the novel of the same name written by Lisa Genova. The story will follow Angelina Jolie as Karina, the estranged ex-wife of a piano virtuoso who is diagnosed with ALS, who takes on the responsibility for caring for him.
Perhaps you can head on over to Netflix and take a gander at Angelina Jolie in The Tourist. Then maybe you can help those critics who remain confused as to which genre the film falls into. Let us know what you think.