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Movie Review

The Tourist

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for violence and brief strong language.

Reviewed by: Thaisha Geiger

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Primary Audience:
Adults Teens
Thriller Drama Remake
1 hr. 43 min.
Year of Release:
USA Release:
December 10, 2010 (wide—2,600+ theaters)
DVD: March 22, 2011
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Copyright, Columbia Pictures

spies in the Bible

Featuring: Angelina Jolie (Elise Clifton-Ward), Johnny Depp (Frank Tupelo), Paul Bettany (Acheson), Timothy Dalton (Jones), Rufus Sewell (The Englishman), more »
Director: Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck
Producer: GK Films, Spyglass Entertainment, Studio Canal, Gary Barber, more »
Distributor: Columbia Pictures

“It all started when he met a woman.”

This is remake of the 2005 French spy thriller “Anthony Zimmer” about an American tourist manipulated by a female Interpol agent in Europe.”

Angelina Jolie plays Elise Clifton, the abandoned girlfriend of notorious thief Alexander Piers, who single-handedly stole millions from a ruthless gangster. In hopes of arresting her old flame, the Scotland Yard has placed the eloquent beauty under constant surveillance. At a French café, Alexander manages to discreetly send Elise a letter with specific instructions: she must board a train to Venice and then select a man of his similar build in order to throw off the police.

Frank Tupelo (Johnny Depp) is a widowed math teacher and is soon the unlucky selection for Elise’s elaborate ploy. Elise flirts with him, and Frank easily becomes enamored. When the vengeful mobster mistakenly believes Frank is Alexander Piers, Frank soon finds himself running for his life.

Perhaps my expectations were too high. Both Depp and Angelina Jolie have deservedly garnered a solid movie career, however “The Tourist” seems more of a fluffy eye-candy film. There’s hardly anything to the plot, but there’s an abundance of scenes where the attractive leads gaze into each other’s eyes, as the romantic orchestra soars loudly in the background.

Objectionable content

The profanity consists of 1 OMG, plus 2 “f” words, 2 sh*t, 5 hells, and 2 b*stard, etc. The violence is relatively moderate and remains more on the sprightly side. There is a lot of gunfire and chases, but these remain mostly bloodless, with a touch of humor. While in the water, one man gets hit in the head by a boat. There is a disturbing strangulation scene, which lasts several seconds. This act of violence sticks out as particularly aggressive, since the rest of the film’s violent scenes aren’t as dark.

There’s some sexual content, but, refreshingly, there are no sex scenes. In the beginning of the film, the detectives, who spy on Elise, zoom in on her derriere in a tight dress and wonder whether or not she’s wearing any underwear. However, their supervisor quickly tells them to remain professional. There are three kiss scenes. While two are tame, the other is more visually passionate, as it’s Frank’s fantasy of Elise.

After their first kiss, Elisa quickly goes into the bedroom, closes the door, and begins to undress. Brief shots of her slip are shown. Clearly tempted by their kiss, Frank then begins to slowly turn her doorknob, but then decides against it and sleeps on the couch. “The Tourist” is commendable in keeping the characters respectful of one another, in this regard.

The film has a heavy theme on how things aren’t always as they appear. From Elise conning Frank to the detectives being unethical, these facades run rampant. Likewise, Satan makes his appearance beautiful in order to lure people to sin. In 2 Corinthians 11:14, Paul writes that Satan “himself masquerades as an angel of light.” On the farthest possible end of the spectrum, God is completely truthful, cannot lie, and has written the Scripture to be the perfect instrument for us to know Him. Psalm 33:4 reads,

“For the word of the Lord is right; and all his works are done in truth.”

Another good verse is Deuteronomy 32:4:

He is the Rock, his works are perfect,
    and all his ways are just.
A faithful God who does no wrong,
    upright and just is he.

I don’t personally recommend “The Tourist.” Those who prefer seeing movies for a simple escapism, might find this film enjoyable. My advice is to wait for the DVD release.

Violence: Moderate to heavy / Profanity: Moderate / Sex/Nudity: Mild

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.

Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Comments below:
Positive—A reasonably entertaining and engaging action/romance/suspense film, with welcome touches of humor. Less offensive than many another PG-13 movie. Better than most of the reviews it has received, IMO.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 3½
—Jeremy Klein, age 55 (USA)
Positive—Having read reviews, my expectations for this film were minimal—at best. It turned out that I loved this movie. Visually comparable to films from decades ago, where one would expect perhaps Cary Grant or Audrey Hepburn to carry a lead role—“The Tourist” entertained me. I laughed, I felt swept up in the details. It was so much fun to watch, that it didn’t matter if it was predictable at times. Profanity aside, “The Tourist” made me feel as though I were back in classic film. Quite possibly one of the best films I’ve seen, in the theater, this season—I recommend “The Tourist” to anyone who enjoys movies like “Charade” (Cary Grant/Audrey Hepburn) or the like.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Misty Wagner, age 34 (USA)
Positive—This is what the movies used to be like with Audrey Hepburn, Cary Grant, Maurice Chevalier, Gary Cooper, etc. It is not a Christian movie. It does not purport to be. But it is a libertarian movie and not a socialist or liberal movie. I will not spoil the ending, but at a substantial level it is an attack on the “soak the rich” mentality. If Johnny Depp had had a hair cut, and there was a marriage in the end, I would have thought that I was in 1954.

Moreover, at a technical level, this is an outstanding film. I urge Christians to go to see this film. Why? Because the Left has made a huge effort to down it. The film critics rate it at 20% and the public rate it at 78% on Rotten Tomatoes. The Left do not want von Donnersmarck in Hollywood. Why? Because he is a libertarian enemy of the Left. What other German film directors do you know who support 2nd Amendment rights? He was educated in both Russia and Oxford University, yet he is a man of the right, and whilst he may not be a Christian—I do not know—I do know that those sorts of people are our friends. They are Ronald Reagan’s Hollywood. Why does the Left hate him to the point that they have crueled the box office of this film? Because he is the director of the most important anti-communist film of the last 40 years—“The Lives of Others”.

Do not wait to the DVD. It is sad that old Hollywood’s dreams were of Mammon, but they were not of Sodom and Gomorrah. This film deserves to be a success. It is the center right ground in the culture wars. It deserves at least 2 cheers from Christian folk. Snuff out this film as the critics so desperately want, and we remain in the “Midnight Cowboy” era.

If your daughter came home wanting to be like Angelina Jolie’s character in this film, you would not be happy, but you would be reconciled to it, and you could remain on good terms. In the average Hollywood movie today, she would be emulating whores. This is a very promising film in the culture wars, it deserves financial success. Killing this film is simply Leninism.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Blue, age 52 (Australia)
Positive—I will say, this is my kind of movie, there is a good twist at the end and not much violence, but a good suspense… I will call this a sophisticated SPY movie. It was nicely done, and I really enjoy. When we finished this movie, we did not have something funny in the back of our mind it was a good ending. We enjoyed.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—David, age 36 (Canada)
Positive—This movie was pretty good, definitely entertaining. I almost didn’t see it, because my 14 year old niece said it was boring—well she is 14. I didn’t feel like it was some major old style movie with Hepburn in it; Johnnie Depp was funny in it, and it had you wondering what was going on the whole time. Definitely worth seeing. I liked it.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Samantha Taylor, age 36 (USA)
Positive—Although this film wasn’t anything special, it was fun to watch and I enjoyed it. While Angelina Jolie was only so-so, Johnny Depp and Paul Bettany are always interesting. It was elegantly filmed, and there was a surprise twist at the end that I very much enjoyed.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Crystal Swartz, age 18 (USA)
Positive—This has become one of my favorite films. I can’t imagine what the site reviewer was referring to when he gave such a poor review. The action by Depp and Jolie was perfect for their roles. Their chemistry was fun. The plot was unpredictable. The scenery fantastic. Jolie looked more beautiful than I’ve ever seen. Depp was charming as the innocent hero. There was no sex, language, if any, was minimal. Violence was minimal, in comparison to most films. I’ve watched it more than once.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Excellent! / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Jeff Mazza, age 54 (USA)
Negative—This was one of the most boring movies I have seen. Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp had absolutely no chemistry together, and Angelina Jolie was very unbelievable in her character. Her “accent” didn’t work, and I kept thinking that this movie could’ve been entitled “Barbie becomes a Spy”. There was some comedic value in watching just how much it didn’t work, even down to the music. I really don’t go around bashing movies, and I was actually looking forward to this one because I normally enjoy Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp, but I would have to say… “Save your dollar”. As far as moral content it was fine to watch.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 2
—Joanne, age 44 (USA)
Comments from young people
Neutral—This was an alright movie. I was looking forward to seeing it for a long time, since I am an Angelina Jolie fan. The offensive material is near non-existent, which, quite frankly, surprised me. The violence is mediocre; there are quite a bit of chase sequences, but no blood. A few kisses is all for the sexual content. The storyline is a creative, but at the same time it feels like all the other action/thriller movies with constant action, explosions, and gunshots. The setting is in Venice, so it’s definitely beautiful to see the sights. I will admit that the ending is a surprise. All in all, it was an alright movie. It moved a little slow at times, but, overall, it’s a decent film.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Lydia P, age 17 (USA)