The Tourist – Blu-ray Review

There are a lot of films that have claimed to harken back to the classic Hollywood era or have attempted to capture the magic of Alfred Hitchcock and failed. Robert Zemeckis’ What Lies Beneath immediately comes to mind. However, with his second film, Florian Henckel Von Donnersmarck (The Lives of Others) has succeeded admirably.

Frank Tupelo (Johnny Depp) is a recently widowed math teacher who is traveling alone though Italy. While on a train trip a mysterious and beautiful woman, Elise Clifton-Ward (Angelina Jolie), makes an introduction and Frank is instantly swept up in her dangerous world. For Scotland Yard and an evil banker all think Frank is Elise’s lover. Now he’s either wanted behind bars or wanted dead; either way, he’s on the run and trying to figure out why.

There are many elements that make this a superbly delightful film. At its base it has a wonderful script by Christopher McQuarrie (The Usual Suspects) and Julian Fellowes (Gosford Park) which caries you through this fantastic story. Add to that two fantastic actors at the top of their game. Jolie and Depp have thoroughly believable chemistry and deliver McQuarrie’s words wonderfully. While Depp has certainly made a niche for himself in playing extra quirky characters he seems to have gotten lost in them as of late and here he is given the chance to prove he’s just as good as playing the straight man as he is the oddball. Jolie is also at her most glamorous in this film really pushing her feminine whiles to their limits and it works.

Now take the great script and actors and place them in the exotically beautiful Venice. Put all this in the hands of a supremely competent director like Von Donnersmarck and you have yourself one extremely enjoyable film.

All while watching this film I kept thinking how much it reminded me of To Catch a Thief. In most cases that easily could have been a huge setback, but it took nothing away from this film. With a great script, cast, crew and location, there really is nothing bad to say about this film. Is it prefect? No. But it’s a hell of a lot of fun.

The Tourist is presented in 2.40:1 widescreen 5.1 DTS-HD surround sound with English, French and Spanish subtitles. This is an extremely well shot film and on Blu-Ray it looks absolutely breathtaking.

Director Commentary: This is an okay commentary. Von Donnersmarck definitely has a love of all things cinema both on and off the screen. He knows what he’s talking about and says lots of interesting things, but only if you’re a really big fan of this film are you going to want sit through this.

Outtake Reel: (1.5 min.) At under two minutes, this has got to be the weakest outtakes reel I’ve ever seen.

Alternate Animated Title Sequence: (2 min.) While very cute, this would have been the straw that broke the camel’s back as far as this film being a throwback to old-school Hollywood.

A Gala Affair, Bringing Glamour Back, Action In Venice, Tourist Destination, Canal Chats: (40 min.) These are all little featurettes that talk about everything from the location itself, how certain scenes came together and the thoughts of the cast and crew about the film and making it. All in all these are an entertaining behind-the-scenes look at this film.

Trailers: Soul Surfer, How Do You Know, Inside Job, Country Strong.


When I first saw the trailers, I wasn’t too excited about The Tourist. But now, having seen it, I will have no problem saying how great it is! With a fun story and a great cast you’re sure to enjoy this film! On a side note, I’m still confused as to why this film was stuck in the comedy category at the Golden Globes. I have no problem calling it a light-hearted thriller, but comedy? I don’t think so.

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment presents: The Tourist. Directed by: Florian Henckel Von Donnersmarck. Written by Von Donnersmarck and Christopher McQuarrie and Julian Fellowes. Starring: Johnny Depp, Angelina Jolie, Paul Bettany, Timothy Dalton and Rufus Sewell. Running time: 103 min. Rating: PG-13 for violence and brief strong language. Released on Blu-ray and DVD: March 22, 2011.

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