Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

Maybe President Obama should watch this flick ‘The International’ before signing over any more loot to the struggling bank system. AIG paying their executive millions of dollars in bonus money with government bank notes doesn’t seem so bad when compared to the banks in this movie who would use the Fed backed kick backs to fund political assassinations, broker arms deals, fund nuclear proliferation, harass heroic looking Interpol agents and cute Manhattan Assistant District Attorney’s. Bastards.

Clive Owen, who might want to think about shaving in his next role as my man is seriously being type cast as the haggard, put upon heroic stubble filled everyman up against it, is Interpol agent Louis Salinger who has had a jones for the ubiquitous evil banking institution knows as the IBBC for like forever. Just when he thinks he’s ‘this close’ to bringing those clowns down, something goes wrong and Louis usually goes ape shit. It’s almost as if this banking behemoth knows Louis’ moves even before he does. Hmm…..

In case you didn’t know this, and I didn’t know this until I saw an episode of sixty minutes some years back, Interpol, despite the romantic cache that movies give to the organization, isn’t really a law enforcement agency but more of an information gathering agency who assist law enforcement agencies and Louis is actually working with the New York City District Attorney’s office and assistant D.A. Eleanor Whitman (Naomi Watts), even though Louis has a constant case of red ass and would like nothing more than to kill everybody in the banking system down to the tellers. Why is the New York D.A. also going after this bank? Well that’s not made to terribly clear to me but it does serve as an excuse to give the always engaging Ms. Watts plenty of screen time.

Now this particular banks has gone completely nuts using its ‘fixer’ Mr. Wexler (Armin-Mueller Stahl) to commit political assassinations, in addition to brokering highly illegal deals, murdering high ranking banking officials and all of this in the process of controlling the worlds debt. All our pair of hard working model pretty law enforcement officers need is a break which comes along in a most unexpected form following a spectacular shootout at the Guggenheim. But will this be enough to bring down the IBBC and their murderous ways… ways which seem to be, according to this movie, written in the bylaws of acceptable Banking Best Practices?

Directed by German filmmaker Tom Twyker, I enjoyed this movie as it had a nice mix of action elements and plot elements as it went about its business in attempting to be a ‘thinking man’s’ action movie, but I did have one major problem with a particular plot element in this movie and this is a bit of a SPOILER so skip if you will. Actor Brian F. O’Byrne plays the hired killer that the bank uses for all its international murderizing needs and our heroes note how ordinary he appears to be, which allows him to slip in and out unnoticed. That is with the exception that this dude has a metal leg. An infliction which always without fail gets him hemmed up at security checkpoints at whatever airport he shows up at. Which is how our heroes eventually tracked him down, which led to the spectacular shootout sequence at the Guggenheim. One would think that an institution portrayed as powerfully cautious as the one portrayed in this movie would maybe use a hired assassin that wouldn’t always be flagged at security checkpoints at airports. One would think. Just thinking out loud is all.

Regardless of that I thought ‘The International’ was an above average political thriller with solid performances from Clive Owen, which isn’t the least bit surprising since he’s been playing the same character ever since he did those awesome BMW short films, and of course Naomi Watts. Character actors Felix Solis and Jack McGee made the most out of very little playing a pair tough New York City cops helping our heroes out in their investigation.

Considering the relatively short length of the movie, this one was probably a little too plot heavy in that there were elements that were tossed in that I didn’t fully understand and the movie didn’t have the time to explain to my stupid ass, but all the film really required you to do was comprehend that these dudes over here a bad and these dudes over are good and the good guys have to stop the bad guys. The rest of the peripheral plot stuff was for people who have a pretty solid working knowledge of the world banking system I guess, and I’m sure those people, of who I am not one, probably found that element full of plot holes too.

But as far as political thrillers go ‘The International’ was an entertaining one with some solid performances, a brisk pace considering the plethora of technical dialog and a couple of really nice action set pieces. Maybe not the clearest vision of a movie ever made but still a good one to watch nonetheless.

Real Time Web