Written by Eric Singer
Directed by Tom Tykwer
Running Time: 1:57
for some sequences of
violence and language.
The International was a thriller that tried to be smart but instead was rather boring and had a story I simply didn't care about.
The ICCB bank has branches all over the world and is widely known to be the favorite bank of the underworld. From gangsters to drug dealers to everything in and between, if you want to hide your money somewhere safe, you put it in an ICCB bank. Members of Interpol along with the Manhattan DA's office have been trying for years to take the bank down and now they think they've got their chance. A high ranking member of the bank is ready to talk, but before he can both he and the agent talking to him are killed. The agent's partner, Louis Salinger is already head deep in this case having blown a chance two years earlier to take down the bank. Now the race is on to try and inflitrate the inner workings of ICCB before a missile deal they are brokering goes down.
The trailers for The International make it look like it could be a very good thriller with lots of action and suspense and mystery. Instead I found the movie to be very long and quite boring, save for an amazing 10 minute shootout inside the famed Guggenheim Museum here in NYC. The first and largest problem is the plot. The movie, at its heart, is about a bank doing bad things. In this day and time people hate banks enough as it is, so in some ways the story works because people will actively root against the bank. However a compelling story would have helped. We hear a lot about what the bank is planning on doing but in reality we don't see very much other than a couple of murders. I didn't feel any sort of intrigue or suspense. I never felt like we were in a race to get to anything. If this particular arms deal went through, there would be other chances. I never thought that hey, if they don't get the bank this time they'd never get to do it again. The fact that Salinger was thisclose to bringing the bank to trial a couple of years earlier proves that point. It's not as if the bank would immediately fold operations once the missile deal went through. And in fact, without giving away too much, the ending of the movie shows that no matter what you try and do, there will always be someone there to pick up the slack.
Clive Owen is sort of tailor made for these kinds of movies. He's a very suave guy was a lot of charm oozing out every pore. And yet he's got a certain toughness where you can imagine him running down the streets of Italy chasing after a bad guy. He definitely anchors the movie and I only wish he had been put into a better story. Naomi Watts is always good at playing a second fiddle. Her role as the Assistant District Attorney showed her tough side as she swore like a sailor and was able to take a few bumps. The bad guys in the movie were very generic which didn't help matters much. While I liked both Owen and Watts, I never really felt any sort of emotion for their characters which meant that I didn't particularly care if they achieved their goals.
There was the one sequence that totally made the movie. There is a massive gun fight that takes place at the Guggenheim that is worth the price of admission. If the price of admission is a matinee price or a rental. It was well choreographed and had me on the edge of my seat the entire time. However the down side to that is, it made the rest of the movie feel even slower by comparison. There were a couple of above average moments, like the aforementioned chase through the Italian streets, but for the most part this was a thinking man's thriller, with a lot of deep dark secrets held by powerful men. Alas, none of it meant anything to me because what they were doing didn't mean anything to me. If you take another Clive Owen movie, Inside Man, there too you had a slow moving film with some action but mostly drama. However there I had interesting characters and an interesting plot where I wanted to see how it ended. With The International I didn't care how it ended, I just wanted it to be over.
THE BOTTOM LINE
So overall, I was disappointed with The International. It was one of those films that could have been better if they had racheted up the action a little and made the plot something people could care about.
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