The Tourist – with a secret key to watching this movie

I went to this movie with fairly low expectations. The critics didn’t like it (review by Roger Ebert of the The Tourist). So… I LOVED IT! The critics missed it. Ebert got it right that it’s a Audrey Heburn/Cary Grant, but he missed the rest.

However, there’s something special about the way I watched it. If you watch this movie the way it’s shown, I think/guess most people don’t get it and, yeah, I think it would stink.

SPOILER ALERT (but also the key to enjoying this movie)

If you know this, it makes it a different movie and very good. Without this, I think it would be slow and boring. With it, it’s patient and calculated. It’s close to a Hitchcock movie.

The secret (and spoiler) is: Frank Tupelo is Alexander Pearce. If you know that early, it’s a different movie. Here’s my logic, if you’ve seen the movie…

I was watching the train dinner scene and thought, they’re putting the note together, he had to know they’d put it together when he told her to burn it. So it must have been on purposes that he told her that. The note said “find someone my height and build and make them believe it’s me.” Ah ha, so she gets on the train, meets up with the real Pearce (but he looks different), the cops put the note together and then believe whoever she’s with is definitely NOT Pearce.

So what’s the point of the rest of the movie? There’s the story of the gangster and such, but the real story is a love story. So my question was – does she know he’s really Pearce. I believe she does. I got scared here – if she knows he’s Pearce, they’re really acting like she doesn’t even when no one is around. Why? When the reveal comes, it’s going to make this whole movie VERY dumb.

However, I believe based on some dialogue (again, only decent b/c you know the secret), she knows it’s him, but they are completely pretending they don’t know each other. Why? They were in love before and now need to know if she can love THIS guy. The guy Pearce has become after 2 years.

To escape the police and gangster, he’s become a new person. Can she love him? Yes. But, she’s a cop! I believe he does NOT know this. So once she actually loves him, then she wants to get rid of him to protect him.

She drops him off at the airport, “blows her cover” and wants to give up Pearce to the police (knowing that was really him). At the ball, she makes no attempt to hide running after “Pearce” calling his name. I believe this and going to the apartment later are mostly just acting/stalling/etc. by her to get Pearce free.

Ending, gangster’s dead, cops are fooled, all’s great. And Frank is Pearce (he opens the safe!). If I hadn’t watched it this way, I would have thought it was a terrible movie. Why are they faking it? Why not just get the money and leave? It was all for nothing and badly done! Not in my opinion.

And I think she must have known he was Pearce – she wasn’t too surprised when he opened the safe. And their conversation at the end was key to the love story – they focused on – can she love this guy.

Despite Jolie claiming she only did it b/c it was a quick shoot in Italy, I think it was a really good film. Did Depp gain some weight for this?

I give it 4 Babbles



Filed under Reviews

7 responses to “The Tourist – with a secret key to watching this movie

  1. I think Hitchcock just did about thirty-seven spins in his grave. While they TRIED to make it Hitchcock like, it came across as exactly what Jolie said it was, a chance to fool around in Italy. Looking at my review, I think I was too lenient actually.

    • Bear

      First: Thanks for the comment and link to your site. 2.5 stars is pretty high, but as you said you were lenient.

      Why 37? I’m sure there must be a deep Hitchcock ref I’m missing there (e.g., 39 spins for “The 39 Steps”).

      However, my comment “It’s close to a Hitchcock movie.” may have been an exaggeration or somewhat undue comment. But the point was, it’s not a boring movie, it’s a patient one.


      I read your review and it seems fair based on watching the movie w/o knowing Frank is Alexander. You never mention in your review (like Ebert) that you find that out in the end. You both just state that Depp’s playing a math teacher. When really, he’s playing Alexander having become (or pretending to be) a math teacher.

      To me, you and I are reviewing different movies. You’re reviewing a fairly lame, slow, poorly acted love story where there’s no believability in the romance: This international cop/spy used to the high-life around the world financed by a thief of the highest order in both money and risk is going to fall in love w/ a math teacher. Laughable.

      I watched a movie where a high-dollar thief changes his entire identity and has to find out if his former lover can still love him – she also has to find out. With this, the dialogue becomes much more interesting.

      • Finally, someone I can spar with that isn’t afraid of a little back and forth debate. I posted my reply over at my site, but I will say it again, I never put spoilers in my reviews, unless it is an Epic type movie, then I sometimes write two reviews in essence. To be honest, since most of those involved with this film phoned it in, I wasn’t about to put MY A game to my review. Still, Madison went with me and she loved it, cuz she didn’t see the twist coming….then she remarked, well, now I gotta see it again! That is what I love about films, to some people they can be jewels and to others complete garbage.

        Look forward to more banter….

      • Bear

        Good policy on spoilers. I try to avoid them, but in this case it was my whole point, as you can tell.
        I agree Jolie’s performance wasn’t remarkable here and there wasn’t a lot of material for Depp to work with either compared to their usual roles. I have the quickest suspension of disbelief in the world. I get lost in movies fast and easy. However, in this case, I was completely watching a movie and in that, “read” the dialogue like a screenplay – the actors were just text.
        Knowing the twist, I felt the dialogue was strong – multi-layered in what they were saying, what they meant, what they implied, etc.
        Anyway, I think most people going to see this movie will either see it as a lame movie w/ a weak twist or see the twist coming and be unimpressed. As you said, one man’s “Planet 9 From Outer Space” is another man’s “Citizen Kane.”
        But as I sat and wondered, “so what are they doing given that he___ and she___” – then it got good.
        BTW, I have an old movie review blog (mostly DVDs) at – long story why it stopped at the end of 2009. Enjoy!
        Thanks for the correspondence!

  2. My interpretation: Depp is Frank. He fell in love with Jolie, so at the end, he made a deal with Pearce so he could be with Jolie and have a part of his fortune, and in exchange protect Pearce’s identity and help him get his money. At the end, Jolie says: “I love you both”. And Depp: “I may have a solution for you.” The solution was that Pearce didn’t really love her, because he chose to let her go. This makes much more sense to me. What do you think?

  3. I disagree on the acting. I thought the acting was fantastic and have watched the movie over and again. I particularly thought Jolie’s performance was her best to date! I liked how smooth and cool she played the character. She was so elegant and at the same time so smart, so cunning, and clever.

    I’m surprised that others disagree, but I think it’s as you both have said, different perspectives, different expectations and that leads to different outcomes.

  4. Ashleigh

    Just watched movie for first time I believe it was a good movie yea could have been more action but I was a love story simple yet complex. The end was good I liked it a lot and would watch it again before I would ninjas turtles which by the way sucks.

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