In the streets of Paris, Interpol officers led by Inspector John Acheson(Paul Bettany) are monitoring the moves of Elise Clifton Ward(Angelina Jolie). Elise, aware of being watched, casually strolls through the streets and ends up in a cafe. At the cafe, she receives a letter from Anthony Pearce. Pearce is her lover who is a fugitive. In the letter, Pearce asks Elise for a second chance. In order to throw the police off his track, he also instructs her to board a particular train from a particular station and pick up a random stranger matching his height and weight. After reading the letter, Elise burns it and walks out of the restaurant. The police are able to retrieve only the ashes.
Chief Inspector Jone(Timothy Dalton) is furious at Acheson for spending a lot of money in pursuit of Pearce. Despite his superior closing down the operation, Acheson is still on it and meticulously reconstructs the message from the ashes. He finds about the train and the station. Meanwhile, Elise boards the train which is departing for Venice. She befriends a tourist named Frank Tupelo(Johnny Depp), a math teacher from US, much to the bewilderment of the latter. When the train approaches Venice, Acheson reconstructs the entire message. He understands Frank is being used as a decoy and asks his team in Italy to stand down. In Venice, Elise invites Frank into her hotel room. Now with Acheson closely watching Elise and Pierce’s enemies hunting for Frank, the vacation turns out to be an adventurous one for Frank. What happens to Elise and Pierce is told in the rest of the movie.
Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck directs this thriller which is a remake of the French movie Anthony Zimmer. But the director fails to thrill the audience in spite of a great star cast, excellent performers and beautiful locations. The background music by James Newton Howard increases the tempo during the escape scenes. Barring the music, there is nothing great about those scenes. The rooftop chases in Venice looks like a shoddy job done in the back lot of a studio. There is focus on Elise explaining her relationship with Pearce. She is attracted to him and also frustrated by his mysterious ways. This is when the initially promising thriller goes south. Then, it never recovers!
There is nothing to write about the performances.
You can watch it on DVD if you have run out of choices. The movie amuses in parts. As a whole, it fails.