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Jamie Dornan's Back On TV For The Tourist, And The Reviews Say He Is Fifty Shades Of Excellent

Jamie Dornan as The Man on The Tourist.
(Image credit: HBO Max)

HBO Max’s new thriller The Tourist stars Jamie Dornan as The Man, who wakes up in a hospital with amnesia after a rollover crash in the Australian Outback. He's being targeted by some dangerous people, and needs to figure out who he is and where he came from pretty quickly. Critics who had the chance to stream the series ahead of its March 3 release date have spoken, and despite some overall mixed opinions on the series' plentiful twists and turns, it seems more reviews than not are all raving in particular about Dornan’s performance.

Jamie Dornan has (thankfully, some would say) left his Fifty Shades of Grey days in the past, and he's followed those up most notably with the highly acclaimed Belfast. Joining him in the new HBO Max series are Danielle Macdonald as rookie police officer Helen Chambers, Shalom Brune-Franklin as waitress Luci Miller, Damon Herriman as detective inspector Lachlan Rogers and Ólafur Darri Ólafsson as someone from The Man’s past. Let’s take a look at what the reviews are saying about The Tourist on HBO Max and particularly Dornan’s performance.

Leila Latif of AV Club grades The Tourist a B, saying that while not a lot of new ground is broken story-wise, this series is never boring. With its great action sequences and excellent cast, she says this series is impressively horrific and you’ll never look at Jamie Dornan as Christian Grey ever again. (Assuming you looked at him the same after he went full stalker on someone in preparation for his role in The Fall.) 

Twists aside, The Tourist lags in the middle act, but is buoyed by a distinctly adult tone—there’s a gameness to it that makes the scary, horny, and darkly comic elements work well in tandem. Each twist (and they’re deployed every 15 minutes or so) beyond the second episode lands with full weight, particularly in the final episode where Dornan’s acting chops reach their apex.

While he thinks the series is beautifully shot and well-paced, Daniel Fienberg of THR says he would have liked it better if tightened into a movie. However, despite thinking it has illogical misdirects and a less-engaging second half, Fienberg says The Tourist perfectly encapsulates Jamie Dornan’s skills.

He has compelling chemistry with both Macdonald and Brune-Franklin, he’s generally convincing as a sturdy action lead and he has an underlying menace that lets you wonder if the man that The Man used to be might not be so virtuous. Best of all — and this will not shock the Barb and Star hive — Dornan is an adroit comic performer, whether it’s expressing Irish-accented confusion about a fluffy stuffed koala or any of the bickering that characterizes The Man’s relationships with Helen and Luci. He weathers all of the reveals about his character, up to the finale’s conclusive twists. It’s just a darned good performance in a show that hinges on its lead.

John Powers of NPR says if amnesia is a gimmick used to drive a story, The Tourist’s motor “purrs like a Ferrari.” Danielle Macdonald is a scene-stealer as Helen, he says, and the perfect counterpoint to Jamie Dornan’s take on The Man.

It's a great role for Dornan, who, earlier in his career, had a slightly synthetic prettiness that made him ideal for creepy characters like the S&M billionaire in Fifty Shades of Grey. Here, he's a bit older, thicker, and rougher. And just as Brad Pitt often seems liberated when his good looks are masked a bit, Dornan gives his best performance as a man who isn't sure whether or not he's the hero of his own life.

Brian Tallerico of RogerEbert.com gives The Tourist 3.5 stars out of 4, saying that Jamie Dornan and Danielle Macdonald give career-best performances in a series that has notes of Memento and Fargo — comparisons also made in other reviews — with a plot that sometimes gets too convoluted.

Pushing their way through all the chaos are Dornan and Macdonald, both phenomenal. Dornan finds a quirky, unsettled way to play a man who doesn’t know who he is without resorting to the cliché of the lost soul. If anything, he leans into more of a blank slate interpretation of amnesia, playing a guy who’s more open to what comes next because he can’t remember what came before.

Michael Starr of the New York Post says HBO Max subscribers “need to watch” Jamie Dornan’s latest project, saying the series starts out with a bang and never lets up. 

Each hour-long episode ends with a big reveal leading directly into the next installment, which keeps the action going at a nice clip as the mystery slowly starts to unwind and we learn more about The Man — who is not as innocent as he appears to be … if only he could remember why.

Josh Bell of CBR says The Tourist is lively and fun, even if it doesn’t reinvent the wheel. Its humor carries it when its plot gets bogged down with exposition, and, again, Jamie Dornan and Danielle Macdonald are effective in their roles.

Dornan is the bigger star, and he gets to show off in the requisite fight scenes as well as in moments of emotional anguish over recovering his memories. However, Macdonald gives an even stronger performance. The Tourist makes Helen essentially its second protagonist, devoting plenty of screen time to her personal life and her journey toward self-actualization. She and Dornan have sweet, believable chemistry, and the creators convincingly develop a low-key love triangle among the man, Helen, and Luci.

The Tourist trailer promised twists, turns and plenty of stressful intensity, and some critics disagree on how well those twists landed, though no one appeared to outright despise it across the board. However, Jamie Dornan’s performance — as well as the supporting cast, namely Danielle Macdonald — was lauded by pretty much everyone, so that seems like the best reason possible to spend the weekend down under.

If you want to check out the new series, all six hour-long episodes of The Tourist are available for streaming with an HBO Max subscription. Also be sure to check out some of the other best shows on HBO Max, as well as our 2022 TV Premiere Schedule.

Mom of two and hard-core '90s kid. Unprovoked, will quote Friends in any situation. Can usually be found rewatching The West Wing instead of doing anything productive.