IANS Review: ‘The Tourist’: A uniquely mounted slow-burn but engaging drama (IANS Rating: ***1/2)


Series: ‘The Tourist’ (Streaming on Lionsgate Play); Duration: 57 minutes per episode (Six Episodes)

Directors: Chris Sweeney, Daniel Nettheim

Cast: Jamie Dornan, Danielle Macdonald, Shalom Brune-Franklin, Damon Herriman, Alex Dimitriades, Olafur Darri Olafsson, Danny Adcock, Kamil Ellis, Damien Strouthos, Greg Larsen, Victoria Harlabidou, Alex Andreas

IANS Rating: ***1/2

At the very onset, be warned that you would need some patience to watch this stylishly mounted slow burn ‘Hero’s Journey’.

With a fascinating set of characters in a quirky situation in the wilderness of Australia’s threatening landscape, ‘The Tourist’ has all the trappings of an engaging drama that is unique in its approach.

This six-episode series begins with a man driving off into the scenic countryside after fuelling his car. We do not know who he is or where he is going. A truck on the road moving at a menacing speed closes up to him, threatening to crash into him, and it does crash into the car after a long-detoured chase.

The man in the car lands in the hospital with amnesia, but after another blatant attempt on his life, he wonders, “why would someone want me dead?”

The series is the journey of this man trying to figure out who he is and why he is in this situation.

Jamie Dornan plays the man, an Irish Tourist stranded in Australia with no memory and on the run. With his easy and sincere charm, and ruthless disposition of a lost man trying to find his identity, he brings plenty of intensity to the role. He is aptly supported by Danielle MacDonald, as the probationary police constable Helen Chambers, who is involved with the situation. As his “only friend,” she is pretty charming and engaging. Her character brings out the warm human element in the otherwise cold narrative.

Olafur Darri Olafsson as the intimidating mercenary Billy along with Shalom Brune-Franklin as the opportunist who changes her identity depending on the situation, Damon Herriman as the rogue Agent Lachlan Rogers, and Alex Demitriaates as the extremely wealthy and powerful Artist with nefarious International Business interests; are all interesting foil characters who deliver solid performances.

Similarly, Greg Larson as Helen’s older, demanding boyfriend Ethan Crumb, succeeds in portraying the most irritating character in the series.

The plot moving at an uneven pace may appear undramatic at first, but gradually you would notice the crafty twists and contrasting cliff-hanger moments between comedy, suggested romance, and some dark evil deeds of what human beings are capable of. The first four episode moves coherently. The fifth episode takes the stoner route after the hero accidentally over-doses himself with LSD, bringing on snatches of disjointed memory recall. And the last episode smoothly wraps up the narrative in the most unexpected ways.

The series is beautifully shot by cinematographers Ben Wheeler and Geoffrey Hall. Their wide-angle lens captures the emotions of the characters, the heat, and the bleak nature of the terrain stunningly.

Overall, the series is intriguing and engaging.



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