The Tourist (2010 film)

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The Tourist
The Tourist Poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byFlorian Henckel von Donnersmarck
Screenplay by
Based onAnthony Zimmer
by Jérôme Salle
Produced by
CinematographyJohn Seale
Edited by
Music byJames Newton Howard
Distributed bySony Pictures Releasing
Release date
  • December 10, 2010 (2010-12-10) (United States)
Running time
103 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$100 million[1]
Box office$278.3 million[2]

The Tourist is a 2010 American romantic thriller film co-written and directed by Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck and starring Angelina Jolie, Johnny Depp, Paul Bettany, and Timothy Dalton. It is a remake of the 2005 French film Anthony Zimmer. GK Films financed and produced the film, with Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions releasing it in most countries through Columbia Pictures.[3] The $100 million budget film went on to gross $278 million at the worldwide box office.[2]

Despite negative reception from the critics, the film was nominated for three Golden Globes, with a debate arising over the question as to whether it was a comedy or a drama. Henckel von Donnersmarck repeatedly stated it was neither genre, calling it "a travel romance with thriller elements," but that if he had to choose between the two, he would choose comedy.[4]


A British woman, Elise Clifton-Ward (Angelina Jolie), is being followed through downtown Paris by French police who are working with Scotland Yard under the direction of Inspector John Acheson (Paul Bettany). Acheson has spent years hunting Alexander Pearce, Elise's lover, who owes £744 million in back taxes, and is believed to have received plastic surgery to alter his appearance. He is also being hunted by Reginald Shaw (Steven Berkoff), a mobster from whom Pearce stole $2.3 billion. At a Parisian cafe, Elise receives written instructions from Pearce: board the train to Venice, Italy; pick out a man; and let the police believe that he is Pearce. Elise burns the note, evades the police, and boards the train.

On the train, Elise selects Frank Tupelo (Johnny Depp), a mathematics teacher from a community college in Wisconsin. Acheson salvages information about the plan from the remains of the burned note. Aware of her location, but not of the ruse, a policeman on Shaw's payroll alerts Shaw that Pearce is on the train to Venice with Elise. Shaw immediately proceeds to Venice.

In Venice, Elise invites Frank to stay with her at the Hotel Danieli, where she receives instructions from Pearce to attend a ball. She abandons Frank, who is then chased by Shaw's men. While trying to escape, he is detained by the Italian police, and a corrupt inspector attempts to turn him over to Shaw's men for a bounty. Elise rescues Frank just before he is handed over, leading Shaw's men on an extended boat chase before finally escaping. She leaves Frank at the airport with his passport and money, urging him to go home for his own safety.

Elise goes to see Acheson, who has come to Venice, and is revealed to be an undercover Scotland Yard agent who was under suspension for her suspected sympathies with Pearce. She agrees to participate in a sting operation to bring Pearce to justice. As she tries to find Pearce at the ball, a man places an envelope on her table and disappears into the crowd. She tries to follow him, but is stopped by Frank, who claims to be in love with her and invites her to dance. The police arrive and take Frank into protective custody. Elise reads the note and leaves in her boat, tailed by Shaw and the police.

When Elise gets to the house to which Pearce's note directed her, Shaw takes her hostage, threatening to harm her unless she reveals the location of a hidden safe where Pearce is keeping the stolen money. The police monitor the situation from outside, and Acheson repeatedly refuses to allow Italian police snipers to intervene to rescue Elise. While the police are distracted monitoring the situation, Frank escapes and confronts Shaw, claiming to be Pearce and offering to open the safe if Elise is allowed to leave. Shaw tells Frank to open the safe or he will have Elise tortured. Chief Inspector Jones arrives at the police stake-out, overrides Acheson, and orders the snipers to fire, killing Shaw and his men. Then, to Elise's obvious pleasure, Jones lifts her suspension and fires her.

Acheson receives a message that Pearce has been found nearby, but, on arrival, he learns the police have detained an Englishman who says he is only a tourist being paid to follow instructions and is not Pearce. Elise tells Frank that she loves him, but she also loves Pearce. Frank opens the safe by entering the correct code, revealing that he was Alexander Pearce all along. When the police come back and open the safe with explosives, they find a check for £744 million. Acheson wants to keep pursuing Pearce, but, since the taxes are now paid, Jones closes the case. Pearce and Elise sail away together.



The project went through a number of directorial and cast changes. Originally, Lasse Hallström was set to direct, with Charlize Theron to play the female lead. After Hallström left, allegedly over scheduling conflicts, Bharat Nalluri came on board, and then Tom Cruise was announced to play the male lead, though he was later replaced by Sam Worthington. When Jolie accepted her role, so did director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, but he, along with Worthington subsequently left, citing "creative differences". After many other directors were considered, including Alfonso Cuarón, Henckel von Donnersmarck returned, re-wrote the script in two weeks, and shot the film in 58 days (including 2nd unit days), with Johnny Depp as the male lead.[citation needed]

Filming began in Paris with Jolie on February 23, 2010,[5] before moving to Venice, where Depp joined the production on March 1. French Minister of Culture Frédéric Mitterrand visited Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck on set when The Tourist was filming in Place Colette.[6]

Henckel von Donnersmarck was assisted by stunt coordinator Simon Crane, who devised the boat action sequence. In the DVD director's commentary, Henckel von Donnersmarck recounts that the film's one action sequence was devised by Crane to allow for the speed limitations imposed on boats in Venice. This speed limit was strictly enforced by the Venetian authorities, and there was a policeman on set at all times to make sure no wave movement caused the pillars on which the palazzi are built to be exposed to oxygen. Henckel von Donnersmarck and Crane felt that if one boat was towing the other, this could perhaps be a realistic reason for a slow speed chase.[citation needed]

The whole film was made in only a little over 11 months, counting from the day Henckel von Donnersmarck came on board to re-write and direct to the day of the premiere in New York. It had to be shot so quickly because Depp had to leave for Hawaii to start filming the fourth film of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. The reason post-production had to happen so quickly was because all commercially interesting release dates in 2011 were reserved for the potential start of Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.


Janus symbolism[edit]

God Janus

The film repeatedly uses symbolism revolving around the Roman god Janus.[7][8] In particular:

  • At a dinner in Venice, Frank asks Elise about her bracelet, and she replies:

It's the Roman god, Janus. My mother gave it to me when I was little. She wanted to teach me that people have two sides. A good side, a bad side. A past, a future. And that we must accept both in someone we love.

  • The safe in Pearce's apartment is hidden behind a Janus-relief.[9]
  • It is revealed that Alexander Pearce has obtained a new face with the help of plastic surgery.

Dostoyevsky references[edit]

Portrait of Dostoyevsky by Vasily Perov, 1872

The film's Russian gangsters Virginsky (Igor Jijikine), Lebyadkin (Vladimir Orlov), Liputin (Vladimir Tevlovski), Fedka (Alec Utgoff), and Shigalyov (Mark Zak) all carry names from Fyodor Dostoyevsky's 1873 political novel Demons. First-credited screenwriter and director Donnersmarck has talked of his childhood obsession with the Russian writer,[10][11] and the Dostoyevskian theme of corrupt police and government resonates throughout the film.[12][13]



On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 21% based on 173 reviews, and an average rating of 4.4/10. The site's critical consensus reads: "The scenery and the stars are undeniably beautiful, but they can't make up for The Tourist's slow, muddled plot, or the lack of chemistry between Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie."[14] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 37 out of 100 based on 37 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews".[15] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B" on an A+ to F scale.[16]

Roger Ebert gave the film 2 out of 4 stars, saying "There's a way to make a movie like The Tourist, but Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck doesn't find that way."[17] Peter Travers of Rolling Stone gave the film 0 out of 4 stars, and put the film on his list of the top 10 worst films of 2010.[18][19]

However, the film received good reviews in the German press,[20][21] and Stephanie Zacharek, a Rotten Tomatoes Top Critic, listed the film as one of her "10 Best Movies of 2010." She called it "a visually sensuous picture made with tender attention to detail and an elegant, understated sense of humor".[22]

Casey Burchby of DVD Talk acknowledged that the movie was "beautifully shot by the accomplished Oscar-winner John Seale," but said that the "hastily-prepared film does not care one iota about its characters."[23]

Cultural reception[edit]

At the 2011 Golden Globe Awards, Ricky Gervais made fun of the film while he was presenting. After this, in a scripted, fictional encounter on the show Life's Too Short, which was written by Gervais and Stephen Merchant, Johnny Depp reminded Gervais that the film was very successful, grossing $278 million, which was a dig aimed at Gervais, whose only two Hollywood films (Ghost Town and The Invention of Lying) had grossed $27 million and $32 million, respectively.[24][25]


The film was nominated for three Golden Globe Awards: Best Musical or Comedy, Best Actor – Musical or Comedy (Depp), and Best Actress – Musical or Comedy (Jolie).[26][27] The fact that a film originally promoted as a romantic thriller was nominated in the comedy category garnered the film and the Golden Globes considerable mockery. It was later revealed that the film was originally submitted by the studio as a drama, but Henckel von Donnersmarck then told the HFPA that it should be categorized as a comedy. HFPA President Phil Berk said, "Given the differing opinions, we asked the studio to screen the film for us in advance, and collectively, we decided that the elements of preposterous fun lent the film more to a comedy than a straight drama category."[28]

Ceremony Award Category Name Outcome
68th Golden Globe Awards[26] Golden Globe Award Best Picture: Musical or Comedy Nominated
Best Actor: Musical or Comedy Johnny Depp Nominated
Best Actress: Musical or Comedy Angelina Jolie Nominated
2011 Teen Choice Awards Teen Choice Awards Choice Movie: Action Nominated
Choice Movie: Actor Action Johnny Depp Won
Choice Movie: Actress Action Angelina Jolie Won
2011 ASCAP Awards Top Box Office Films James Newton Howard Won


The Tourist
Soundtrack album by
LabelVarèse Sarabande

The soundtrack CD of The Tourist was released on December 21, 2010.[29]

1."Tracking Elise"James Newton Howard1:29
2."Burned Letter"James Newton Howard2:21
3."Paranoid Math Teacher"James Newton Howard3:31
4."Arrival At Venice"James Newton Howard3:06
5."Elise Offers A Ride"James Newton Howard1:52
6."A Very Nice Kiss"James Newton Howard2:04
7."Bedroom Dreams"James Newton Howard2:58
8."Piecing It Together"James Newton Howard3:11
9."Rooftop Run"James Newton Howard5:18
10."Chase Through The Canals"James Newton Howard5:45
11."Because I Kissed You"James Newton Howard3:34
12."A Very Nice Hotel"James Newton Howard2:27
13."Arriving At The Ball"James Newton Howard2:04
14."Your Choice In Men"James Newton Howard2:04
15."Sudden Departure"James Newton Howard2:03
16."The Infinite Price"James Newton Howard7:30
17."The Janus Safe"James Newton Howard3:01
18."Rain Of Bullets"James Newton Howard1:29
19."Aftermath"James Newton Howard0:52
20."Elise & Alexander"James Newton Howard2:41
21."Personal Cheque"James Newton Howard1:57
22."Dance In F"Gabriel Yared2:42
24."No Fear of Heights"Katie Melua2:59


  1. ^ Fritz, Ben (December 9, 2010). "Movie Projector: New 'Narnia' looks solid, 'Tourist' will struggle as Christmas movie season begins". Los Angeles Times. Tribune Company. Retrieved December 9, 2010.
  2. ^ a b "The Tourist (2010)". Box Office Mojo. March 10, 2011. Retrieved July 6, 2011.
  3. ^ Fleming, Mike (October 28, 2009). "King Coins "The Tourist" at Col". Variety. Archived from the original on January 4, 2010.
  4. ^ Tim Appelo, Globe Comedy Nom for 'The Tourist': Now, That's Funny, The Hollywood Reporter, December 14, 2010, accessed February 2, 2011.
  5. ^ "See Brad and Angelina's Bosnia Date Night Before His Parents Arrived in Venice!". April 14, 2010. Retrieved October 8, 2010.
  6. ^ "Frédéric Mitterrand se rend sur le tournage de "The tourist " de Florian Henckel Von Donnersmarck". February 23, 2010.
  7. ^ "Review: The Tourist". Newcity Communications, Inc. December 10, 2010. Retrieved July 30, 2013.
  8. ^ Paul Asay (2011). "The Tourist: Video Review". Focus on the Family. Retrieved July 30, 2013.
  9. ^ Dieter Wunderlich. "The Tourist (movie review)". Dieter Wunderlich. Retrieved July 30, 2013.
  10. ^ "La vida de los otros (Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck)". Retrieved July 30, 2013.
  11. ^ Annette Maria Rupprecht. "The Lives of Others: Interview - Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck (A Man of Stature)". Cineuropa. Retrieved July 30, 2013.
  12. ^ Roe, Ivan (1972). The breath of corruption; an interpretation of Dostoievsky. PG3328 Z6 R55: Kennikat Press.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location (link)
  13. ^ Cooke, Paul (2013). "The Lives of Others" and Contemporary German Film: A Companion. DE GRUYTER. pp. 221–240. ISBN 9783110268102.
  14. ^ "The Tourist (2010)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved September 9, 2021.
  15. ^ "The Tourist". Metacritic. Retrieved August 27, 2013.
  16. ^ "CinemaScore".
  17. ^ The Tourist :: :: Reviews. Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved December 11, 2010.
  18. ^ Peter Travers (December 9, 2010). "The Tourist | Rolling Stone Movies | Movie Reviews". Retrieved April 30, 2011.
  19. ^ "1. The Tourist". Rolling Stone. Retrieved April 22, 2011.
  20. ^ "Was treiben Angelina Jolie & Johnny Depp in Venedig?". Bild. Retrieved August 26, 2013.
  21. ^ "Donnersmarck-Film "The Tourist": Putzig mit Popo". Spiegel. Retrieved August 26, 2013.
  22. ^ "Stephanie Zacharek's 10 Best Movies of 2010". Movieline. Archived from the original on March 7, 2011. Retrieved April 30, 2011.
  23. ^ "The Tourist : DVD Talk Review of the DVD Video". Retrieved April 30, 2011.
  24. ^ "Ghost Town (2008) - Box Office Mojo". Retrieved March 12, 2016.
  25. ^ "The Invention of Lying (2009) - Box Office Mojo". Retrieved March 12, 2016.
  26. ^ a b "The 68th Annual Golden Globe Awards NOMINATIONS | OFFICIAL WEBSITE of the HFPA and the GOLDEN GLOBE AWARDS". December 14, 2010. Retrieved April 30, 2011.
  27. ^ "HFPA - Nominations and Winners 2010". Retrieved December 22, 2010.
  28. ^ Tim Appelo, 'Tourist' as Comedy Was the Director's Idea.
  29. ^ Monger, James Christopher. "The Tourist (soundtrack review)". AllMusic. Retrieved August 30, 2014.

External links[edit]