Director: Tom Tykwer
Cast: Clive Owen, Naomi Watts, Armin Mueller-Stahl, Brían F. O'Byrne, Michel Voletti, Haluk Bilginer, Patrick Baladi, Fabrice Scott, Jay Villiers
RunTime: 1 hr 58 mins
Released By: Columbia TriStar
Official Website: http://www.everybodypays.com/
Opening Day: 23 April 2009
In "The International," a gripping thriller, Interpol Agent Louis Salinger (Clive Owen) and Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Eleanor Whitman (Naomi Watts) are determined to bring to justice one of the world's most powerful banks. Uncovering myriad and reprehensible illegal activities, Salinger and Whitman follow the money from Berlin to Milan to New York to Istanbul. Finding themselves in a high-stakes chase across the globe, their relentless tenacity puts their own lives at risk as their targets will stop at nothing – even murder – to continue financing terror and war.
An international bank that operates out of the small European country, Luxembourg is interested in small arms deals with China and Turkey. A man, out to seek the truth goes to his wits’ end to expose the bad deed-doers. This, forms the spine of The International, a thriller that is a David and Goliath battle between one man and a bank with international dealings. Indeed, this is not exactly a Wall Street drama, It’s a hard hitting, bullets flying actioner.
At the head of it all is Clive Owen playing Agent Louis Salinger an Interpol agent who teams up with Naomi Watts playing Eleanor Whittman who works for the District Attorney’s office in New York. When Salinger discovers a discrepancy in his case files after the murder of a high-profile potential whistle blower, he decides to take matters into his own hands and visit to the International Bank of Business and Credit (IBBC) offices to confront the problem. This leads to a discovery that the IBBC is covering something up and this marks the start of quite an adventure that takes the audience to various locations around the world.
At the helm is German director, Tom Tykwer, famed for his hit film, Run Lola Run and last seen directing Perfume. In this outing, he has crafted a stylish film that tries its best to stay away from comparisons to the highly successful Bourne trilogy with its gritty shots and appeal. This makes The International a generally nice visual experience especially with the highlight, a shootout scene in the Guggenheim Museum of all places! The scene is a suspenseful affair with bullets piercing bodies and walls all around. What makes it worst are the tourists and visitors who are stuck in the museum and caught in the crossfire. Watch this.
Clive Owen with a devil may care attitude fits right into the fray as Agent Salinger. His role in this one may probably remind one of his turn in Children of Men or the carrot-chomping guy in Shoot ‘Em Up, less funny but just as merciless. His determination to stop the bank from its heinous crimes leads both he and Whittman deeper into a complicated web and they both soon discover that it will be near impossible to topple an international organization like the IBBC as the consequences will cause a lot of other organizations to be implicated.
The film will hold your attention as you try to discover the mystery and what Salinger will do next. The IBBC shows its strength and muscle when those who threaten its existence perish one by one in several different ways. On the overall, the story may captivate, it is a wonder how Eric Singer managed to craft such a story with various interesting characters. However, the film is also marred with several loopholes and nagging questions by the time the credits roll. Much may not be answered at the end but it is not entirely a bad thing.
(A decent enough thriller that will hold your attention but nothing that will blow you away)
Review by Mohamad Shaifulbahri