2011 Certificate: 12


Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie team up with the writer of The Usual Suspects and the director of captivating Oscar-winner The Lives Of Others for this twisty mystery caper. Jolie is the ex-girlfriend of an elusive embezzler who uses American tourist Depp as a stooge to throw Scotland Yard investigator Paul Bettany and vicious gangster Steven Berkoff off her ex's scent. Striking leads, intriguing locations and more turns than the Monaco Grand Prix – there hasn't been a mystery this glamorous since Hitchcock went to catch a thief.


  • Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck


  • Johnny Depp

  • Angelina Jolie

  • Paul Bettany

  • Timothy Dalton

  • Steven Berkoff


Having kept us in suspense for three years after the riveting The Lives Of Others, director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck - gezundheit! - makes his much-anticipated return with an altogether lighter affair.

A playful crime jaunt in the Hitchcock mould, The Tourist not only unites the Best Foreign Film recipient with two other Oscar-winning writers - Usual Suspects' Christopher McQuarrie and Gosford Park's Julian Fellowes - but two of the most dashing movie stars on the planet.

Throw in a couple of Europe's most romantic backdrops and it all looks too good to be true. Which turns out to be the case. Though undeniably slinky, this little number rarely adds up to the sum of its parts.

In Paris, Elise Ward (Jolie) is being tailed. Scotland Yard bloodhound Acheson (Bettany) believes Elise can lead them to her ex-boyfriend, the multimillion-pound thief Alexander Pearce.

The problem is that thanks to plastic surgery, nobody knows what Pearce looks like. Not even Elise. Still, following his instructions, she boards a train for Venice and engages with a stranger who bears a physical resemblance to Pearce: rumpled American tourist Frank Tupelo (Depp).

It doesn't take long for Acheson to realise that Frank is not their man. Unfortunately, tipped-off international gangster Shaw (Berkoff) is still under the illusion that Frank is Pearce. And Pearce owes him a fortune.

Once in Venice, Elise tries to cut Frank loose. But with Acheson not letting them out of his sight and Shaw's goons in hot pursuit, their paths (and canals) become inextricably crossed. Besides which, Frank has fallen in love.

While Depp finds a touch of the old Cary Grant charm and Jolie has enough class and wowwee to compare with Grace Kelly or Audrey Hepburn, they never generate the spark of the classic romantic capers - To Catch A Thief, Charade, et al - to which von Donnersmarck aspires.

Indeed, Jolie appears to be working under one direction: "act mysterious". Stripped of guns and martial arts moves yet wielding her English accent like cut glass, it's like seeing Lara Croft replaced by her mum.

There are a few juicy twists, presumably courtesy of Suspects' scribe McQuarrie. But the biggest mystery is spotting Fellowes' contribution.

As a character specialist he can't be blamed for the scarcity of action (von Donnersmarck may need time to adjust to Hollywood budgets). But all the five-star opulence in the world can't distract from the parade of by-the-numbers cops and villains.

Bettany is given little to get his teeth into, Timothy Dalton is regrettably underused as his boss, and Berkoff's Shaw is just another of those yawnsome kingpins who dispatches hapless minions while having his suits fitted. Talk about off-the-peg.
Pretty stars. Exotic settings. A hint of excitement. An air of mystery. Voila, c'est Salt by Chanel.