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The Tourist

"The Tourist" | a film review by Gary Chew

GARY CHEW/Sacramento

I was worried at last night's screening of "The Tourist" as the lights went down and the trailer that preceded it, touting next February's Adam Sandler delight, came up. It's not unusual for the film being screened to be paired with a preview of an upcoming feature of the same type.

A little gulp came up, too, as I thought, "But, "The Tourist" is only the second movie by Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck." The first one he did merely won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film in 2007. It was "The Lives of Others," for which, I guess you could say, I lapsed into a total rave about. I think I even referred to Herr Donnersmarck as being brilliant, or something like that, for his direction and script of "Lives of Others," which was released in March, 2006.

So how is it the trailer for a new Adam Sandler movie, slated to open in two months, or so, flashes in front of me just prior to the screening of a film mostly written and completely directed by Herr Donnersmarck, who is one-for-one in the Oscar statistics?

	Jolie and Johnny Depp

Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp

That would be because Donnersmarck has stepped backed from what he did in his anti-totalitarian work, "The Lives of Others," bringing instead a slick, smooth, but inert Blake Edwardsy kind of bagatelle, all debonaire and cute, packed with romance, mistaken identity, plenty of spy/cop action, and... with Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp: a real pair to draw to.

Ms. Jolie, playing it almost as regal as Grace Kelly, is a mysterious Brit named Elise (pronounced in the non-German way with two syllables). The lovely lady appears to be tangled up with police persons as well as a cruel Goldfinger kind of mobster by the name of Reginald, and played by Steven Berkoff. Reggie wants back all that money of his... purloined by one of Elise's former paramours, whom the script calls, Andrew Pearce.

As Billy Strayhorn once suggested, Ms. Jolie takes a train---from Paris to Venice---for a surreptitious meet up, but before... on that train... sort of runs into---yipp---Johnny Depp. Mr. Depp's Frank Tupelo (a Wisconsin math teacher) seems a bit at sea, and only slightly like a Yankee Forrest Gump on his first visit to Europe. Johnny is always endearing playing a modicum of a bumpkin, with, just below the surface, all that Cary Grant charm of his.

"The Tourist" then takes off on police persons making chase after a character that's required to be of mistaken identity, and that they maintain heavy-duty audio and close-up video surveillance of Elise and Frank.

Timothy Dalton

Timothy Dalton

This isn't a James Bond movie, but Herr Donnersmarck does cast Timothy Dalton (an 80s vintage 007) as a chief inspector bloke who throws his rank around, particularly on a hapless middle grade inspector, played by Paul Bettany.

After scurrying about on Venetian canals and neat tile rooftops, a sort of Johnny-Depp-goes-to-the-castle-to-rescue-Angelina-Jolie... ensues so Reginald won't put an end to her... but I don't want to say any more about that.

But I will advise you that "The Tourist" is much better, at least in my estimation, than any Adam Sandler movie I've seen, so there's no need to worry, as I did, watching Mr. Sandler's trailer of his soon-to-be cinematic excursion with... well, of course, Jennifer Aniston.

Florian Donnersmarck is a clever, new filmmaker. I think he's going to be back, in the not too distance future, with movie number three. Let's see where that one takes him---and us.

"The Tourist" official site.

Now showing.

See Yahoo Movies-Tulsa for theaters and times.

Gary Chew can be reached at garychew@comcast.net,
Facebook.com/justin.playfair and Twitter.com/orwellingly.

Copyright © 2010, Gary Chew. All rights reserved.

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