The Tourist, Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, 104 mins (12A)
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (3D), Michael Apted, 115 mins (PG)

Even the beauty of Venice can't prod this slow, meandering tourist into action

When we first see Angelina Jolie in The Tourist she's sashaying along Paris's chicest boulevards.

She's poised, immaculately dressed and coolly self-satisfied. You could say the same about the film. It's a classy number, all right, with a lauded co-writer and director, The Lives of Others' Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, and two co-writers, Christopher McQuarrie and Julian Fellowes, who both have cupboards full of awards. It's set in Venice's plushest hotels and grandest ballrooms; it has a shimmering orchestral score, and the cast is so good-looking that the film's idea of an ordinary Joe is Johnny Depp. But, like Jolie, The Tourist is too focused on being elegant to move any faster than walking pace.

This languorous tempo is all the more problematic considering that Jolie is being pursued by the police. A Scotland Yard detective (Paul Bettany) hopes she'll lead him to her lover, a mysterious master thief, and so, Jolie picks up a widowed maths teacher, Depp, on the train from Paris to Venice, the idea being that Bettany will mistake him for Britain's Most Wanted. The dumbstruck Depp is happy to go along with whatever Jolie suggests, even if it endangers his life.

The Tourist is an old-fashioned, romantic tribute to the glamorous thrillers that Cary Grant starred in 50 years ago. And now that action movies are so frenzied, there's something to be said for a film that keeps us waiting so long for a shot to be fired. But if you strip off the blankets of European finery, The Tourist is a daft crime romp involving gangsters, rooftop chases and ridiculous plot twists – and that kind of movie needs pizzazz, stunts and jokes more than it needs admiring views of haute couture. The Tourist is a vehicle that was built for comfort when it should have been built for speed. It's a step up from Knight and Day, this year's other would-be Hitchcock adventure about an innocent bystander being whisked away by a gorgeous stranger. But it's more of a promenade than a caper.

Three weeks ago, I grumbled about Harry Potter's Easter egg hunt for horcruxes and deathly hallows, but J K Rowling's round-the-houses plotting is streamlined compared with the meanderings in – deep breath – The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (3D). The third film of a series based on C S Lewis's Narnia novels, it zaps the two younger Pevensie children, Edmund (Skandar Keynes) and Lucy (Georgie Henley), back to the realm of fauns and minotaurs, along with their stuck-up cousin Eustace (Son of Rambow's Will Poulter). They're then taken aboard a ship captained by Caspian (Ben Barnes), their imperialist pal from the previous film. ("The giants of the north have surrendered unconditionally," he announces.) In his newly acquired English accent – he was sort-of Spanish last time – he tells them that the Narnians are under threat, yet again: this time they're being spirited away by a pale green mist. No, not a White Witch, or any other villain worthy of boos and hisses, but an adverse weather condition. The only way to defeat this dastardly pea-souper is to gather seven enchanted swords that have been scattered around a far-flung archipelago. Of course they have.

Instead of a battle between good and evil, then, what we get is an island-hopping cruise. And instead of using their own courage and ingenuity to find the swords, the heroes simply follow the directions they're given by various supernatural beings. First, there's a magician, then there's a fairy, and finally there's Aslan, the computer-generated lion who has the power to right all wrongs, but who prefers to let his beloved children suffer for a while before he steps in. If this capricious moggy is Lewis's avatar of Jesus, then you couldn't ask for a worse advertisement for Christianity.

Mind you, maybe the Pevensies don't deserve much help. Lucy is a narcissist, and Edmund keeps moaning that he's not getting the forelock-tugging deference that he's decided he merits. How feeble must the people of Narnia be if they turn to these posh pipsqueaks from Earth every time they get in trouble?

Next Week:

Nicholas Barber sees Tron Legacy, a sequel that took 28 years to arrive (and that's six more than Wall Street 2)

Also Showing: 12/12/2010

For Colored Girls...(133 mins, 15)

For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf is a series of 20 poetic monologues, first staged in 1975, that explores the hardships of African-American womanhood. But whose idea was it to adapt this quintessentially theatrical work into a movie melodrama, set in present-day Harlem, and to plonk the play's florid, beat poetry into the dialogue? And who wants to watch two-plus hours of domestic violence, infidelity, infertility, date rape, backstreet abortion, religious fanaticism, and empowering sermons?

A Serbian Film (104 mins, 18)

A former porn star signs up for an experimental art-porn project, and is soon brainwashed into raping and murdering his co-stars. A Serbian Film is already notorious for its all-round disgustingness, but its horrors might be justifiable if it weren't for the daytime-soap quality of the acting and cinematography, or the clunking speeches equating the sex crimes with the state of the nation.

The Thorn in the Heart (86 mins, PG)

Michel Gondry travels around rural France with his aunt, visiting the schools she taught in when he was a child. It's a genial documentary, but essential viewing only if your surname is Gondry.

On Tour (111 mins, 15)

Rambling, rollicking comedy drama directed by Mathieu Amalric, who also stars as the manager of an American burlesque show which is touring France's ports.

Enemies of the People (93 mins)

Sobering documentary about the 10-year mission by Cambodian journalist Thet Sambath to interview Khmer Rouge killers, including Pol Pot's second in command.

Arts and Entertainment
Beyonce, Boris Johnson, Putin, Nigel Farage, Russell Brand and Andy Murray all get the Spitting Image treatment from Newzoids
tvReview: The sketches need to be very short and very sharp as puppets are not intrinsically funny
Arts and Entertainment
Despite the controversy it caused, Mile Cyrus' 'Wrecking Ball' video won multiple awards
musicPoll reveals over 70% of the British public believe sexually explicit music videos should get ratings
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister and Ian Beattie as Meryn Trant in the fifth season of Game of Thrones

Arts and Entertainment

book review
Arts and Entertainment
It's all in the genes: John Simm working in tandem with David Threlfall in 'Code of a Killer'

TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Far Right and Proud: Reggies Yates' Extreme Russia

TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Kanye West was mobbed in Armenia after jumping into a lake

Arts and Entertainment
The show suffers from its own appeal, being so good as to create an appetite in its viewers that is difficult to sate in a ten episode series

Game of Thrones reviewFirst look at season five contains some spoilers
Arts and Entertainment
Judi Dench and Kevin Spacey on the Red Carpet for 2015's Olivier Awards

Ray Davies' Sunny Afternoon scoops the most awards

Arts and Entertainment
Proving his metal: Ross Poldark (played by Aidan Turner in the BBC series) epitomises the risk-taking spirit of 18th-century mine owners

Poldark review
Arts and Entertainment
Eddie Redmayne is reportedly favourite to play Newt Scamander in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Arts and Entertainment
Tom Hardy stars in dystopian action thriller Mad Max: Fury Road

Arts and Entertainment
Josh, 22, made his first million from the game MinoMonsters

Grace Dent

Channel 4 show proves there's no app for happiness
Disgraced Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson
Arts and Entertainment
Game face: Zoë Kravitz, Bruce Greenwood and Ethan Hawke in ‘Good Kill’

film review

Arts and Entertainment
Living like there’s no tomorrow: Jon Hamm as Don Draper in the final season of ‘Mad Men’

TV review

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

    Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

    A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
    Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

    Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

    The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
    How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

    How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

    Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
    From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

    The wars that come back to haunt us

    David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
    Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

    Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

    A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
    Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

    UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

    Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
    John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

    ‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

    Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
    Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

    Let the propaganda wars begin - again

    'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
    Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

    Japan's incredible long-distance runners

    Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
    Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

    Tom Drury: The quiet American

    His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
    You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

    You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

    Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
    Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

    Beige to the future

    Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

    Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

    More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
    Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

    Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

    The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
    Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own