The International

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The International
They fund regime change in unstable African nations and sell weapons to Israeli and Arab counterparts. Their financial tendrils are everywhere because real global power is about controlling debt. They are the International Bank of Business and Credit. Yes, the money men are the new villains in this timely thriller, which sets the rumpled integrity of Interpol agent Clive Owen and pinched determination of US investigator Naomi Watts on the trail of skullduggery resulting when the IBBC hires a ‘consultant’ (read: hitman) to cover its tracks. The quest for truth and justice involves a familiar parade of shady meetings, car chases, punch-ups and a truly spectacular shoot-out inside New York’s Guggenheim, though the increasingly scrambled plotting doesn’t quite measure up to director Tom Tykwer’s slinky, elegant handling of it.

Eventually, you just let the tangled double-crossing take care of itself and enjoy the way the film defiantly bucks the contemporary thriller trend for shaky-cam coverage and lightning cuts. Instead, there’s a slow-burning pleasure to be had from the pellucid clarity of Tykwer’s widescreen framing, the way he sets up scenes with an ominously stately aerial glide over cityscapes and gleaming modern architecture. While Owen does scruffy steeliness as well as any man alive, this is less about the performers than sustained subtle unease, adeptly orchestrated by the electric undertow of Tykwer, Reinhold and Klimek’s suavely insidious score. A shame, really, that the story folds in the final third, but for its sculptural qualities there’s much to savour here. Frank Lloyd Wright aficionados, prepare yourselves.

By: Trevor Johnston


Release details

Rated: 15
Release date: Friday February 27 2009
Duration: 118 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Tom Tykwer
Screenwriter: Eric Warren Singer
Cast: Clive Owen
Naomi Watts
Armin Mueller-Stahl
Ulrich Thomsen
Brian F O'Byrne

Average User Rating

2.5 / 5

Rating Breakdown

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  • 1 star:0
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Gripping globe-trotting action thriller, worth the price of admission for the superb museum sequence alone.

Surprised this film is getting such bad comments. Even though you dont know whats going on 80% of the time, the classy cinematography and Clive Owen make up for it. It almost peaks to soon with the nailbiting museum sequence. If you prefer action films without the ADHD editing / repetitive cat and mouse plot of Bourne, you might enjoy this.

Got to say, this was a bad version of a Bourne film. Poor acting, Bad dialogue. Confusing plot. Cultural stereotypes. Political statements left, right and centre. The music and cinematography, great in and of themselves, don't make up for it. I guess the blood and gore will make it more interesting for guys, but there's nothing in it for a woman whose worldview doesn't jive with the film's.

the review is very correct -loved the action piece in guggenheim museum and the agony in the garden piece in berlin museum too -

The best part in watching this movie was that it made me laugh for about two minutes straight. Not exactly what I expected from a conspiracy-espionage movie, but certainly one of the best laughs I've had in years; it happened when Clive Owen released yet another devastating cliche of a sentence, seconds after I pointed out to my partner who watched with me that the script sounds like a collection of all-time-favourites from American films. Sadly, the whole movie wasn't entertaining at all. The plot was chewed-up and every move was explained in tedious manner; no annoying couples in the movie theater needed to explain the moves because they were so obvious. I felt like I was in the "Idiot's Guide to Espionage Films". The only likely explanation to Owen's angry face is that he was put out by the poorly-written dialouges. The music was out-of-touch with the rhythm of the scenes, and the plot wandered between side characters to no avail and without creating any true feelings for either of them. All in all, it was a movie that seemed as if it went on for three hours, completely incohesive and not with a single sex scene or car chase (that would not have compensated for anything.) A few stunning views are far from being worth the time. Final thought: It seemed like the best idea the movie makers could come up with was "Hey, let's do an action scene at the Gugenheim! That would be cool!". Well, that's not a bad idea, but please make sure that the police don't take 8 minutes to reach the scene, and that for no apparent reason the assassin will join forces with his chaser, and really, just save the money and don't make a movie that looks like a Bourne movie on Prozac.