"The International" Movie Review
"The International" (quality rating: 6 out of 10) Director: Tom Twyker Screenplay: Eric Singer Cast: Clive Owen, Naomi Watts, Armin Mueller-Stahl Time: 1 hr., 58 min. Rating: R (some violence, vulgarity)
Y'know, in a movie, you can have stakes set so high that they're insurmountable. this sort of thing deprives it of suspense. but if Clive Owen is your hero, it can work modestly.
So how about a bloody — really bloody (you know, like when they gush blood long after they're dead) — world class shoot-out in Manhattan's Guggenheim Museum in which a dozen or so shooters are all armed with the Israeli Uzi (the sequence was entirely staged on a massive, re-creation in an old railway roundhouse in Berlin). Sure, that's just fine, but what's the plot here? the premise in "The International" is that there exists a gargantuan bank cartel in Europe which effectively finances all terrorism going on the world, whether drugs, arms shipments, Al Queda, Hezbollah, Russian organized crime or whatever. and that's what Interpol agent Louis Salinger (Clive Owen) as pursuing.
The tone of the film much resembles any of your TV crime series, facedowns between information-gathering law people, a few chases — none overdone in the film — but with our protagonist, helped along lightly scripted with Naomi Watts as his cheerleader, facing such colossal odds, the probabilities of things happening so smoothly are, paradoxically, what makes the storyline rough.
High tech info gathering, complex leads and convoluted logic all combine to overload you at times to the point where you may feel a bit heavy-eyed.
This is Clive Owens' game, however. He commands every frame with his no-nonsense presence. Naomi Watts, however, is not seriously written into this film and, to its credit, it does not set you up for any romance. and since there is no central villain character to ground the pursuit, just handsomely suited business scoundrels galore, you never really feel gripped.
Interpol, the international police organization, operates largely in extreme secrecy, but its reach into its six priority crime operations is comprehensive. they are: Drugs and Criminal Organizations, Public Safety and Terrorism, Trafficking in human beings, Corruption, Fugitives and, the concern of this film, Financial and High-tech Crime. In this episode, there's Interpol Agent Louis Salinger (Clive Owen) and Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Eleanor Whitman (Naomi Watts) brought together to surge into a stupendous pursuit of a combine of all-powerful world bankers and terrorists who maintain vast financing for wars. the story material is loosely based on the Bank of Credit and Commercial Intl., a Pakistan-originated institution that was found to be specialized in arms dealing, money laundering, and financing deadly rebel armies, terrorists and mercenaries and from the 1970s until its termination in 1991.
In this fictitious version, Salinger and Whitman will find themselves uncovering felonious acts that mask even greater ones, spiraling into dark forces from Berlin to Milan to new York to Istanbul. the harder they chase, the more they find themselves in the crosshairs of grandly deadly killers who will resort to merciless, unlimited methods to protect their fortunes. Salinger and Whitman are quite the characters, he more than she. He's given to contesting his superiors in brutal verbiage wherein he has to be reminded that he's "not at Scotland Yard anymore." Of course, that lets him work in harmony when he matches with Whitman who's not at all above giving sermons to her burned out boss on the matter of truth and accountability. In any case Salinger and Whitman will have a dynamite existence as they go after an elusive hired gun (Brian F. O'Byrne) who's the linchpin of their case. here we go into bullets galore and some necessary compromises on morality and ethics.