International boredom

By Gus Bode

Wes Lawson

Daily Egyptian

[email protected]


‘The International

Rated PG-13

Starring: Clive Owen, Naomi Watts

Directed by Tom Tykwer

Run time:118 minutes

Grade: C+

It must be said, that releasing a movie like ‘The International’ in the midst of our current banking crisis probably isn’t the best idea. It changes the film from fun escapist entertainment into a terrifying possibility in our current world, which immediately changes the way people will respond to the film.


Taken from an objective perspective, ‘The International’ is a fairly middling thriller that tried to say big things about big issues, but ends up being relentlessly one-noted and filled to the brim with holes. However, there are a couple scenes that are almost worth the price of admission by themselves. Sadly, these scenes come a bit too late.

The plot of the film is endlessly complicated. It is filled with twists, turns and nonsense, but in a nutshell, it is about the International Bank of Business and Credit, who secretly launder money, deal arms and organize assassinations against powerful people who oppose them.

Enter Louis Salinger (Owen), an INTERPOL agent trying to take the bank down. The bank has powerful connections in high places, and when Salinger gets two ex-employees to finally talk, they are promptly killed. He then teams up with a DA from the United States (Watts) and when a problem occurs with an arms deal within the bank, they hire an assassin to track down Salinger and stop his plan to destroy them.

‘The International’ is a movie that wants to make a statement about the banking industry and also provide a 70s-esque thriller mood that harkens back to when thrillers were smart and tightly written. Sadly, writer Eric Warren Singer doesn’t provide the audience with a plot. The movie is essentially a series of conversations, scenes in which characters sit and explain motivations, and endless backstory. None of which manages to be cohesive or follow any logical path.

This means the audience is quickly alienated from the story, because aside from the knowledge that the bank is evil, there’s not much else to go on. It’s strange that director Tom Tykwer, whose previous films were superb and visually astonishing (‘Run Lola Run’ and ‘Perfume’) has chosen such a generic story for his first Hollywood outing.

It doesn’t help either that the characters are paper thin, albeit well acted, by Watts and Owen. Watts in particular doesn’t do well, because her character seems to be in the movie simply to have a female lead. She has one thing to do in the entire movie, and it doesn’t come into play until far too late in the film for anyone to care. Owen is a reliable badass in films like this, but not even he can overcome the screenplay deficiencies.

It is worth noting that the film contains two scenes that stand out from the rest of this dry outing. The film eventually ends up in New York, where there is a shootout in the Guggenheim Museum that is a masterpiece of action filmmaking. There is also a chilling credits scene, which will not be spoiled here, but it must be said that it’s scarier and more realistic than anything that was on display in the film that preceded it.

‘The International’ is not a bad movie, but it reeks of missed opportunity. It doesn’t help that it opened when it did, but hopefully, when filmmakers decide to make another movie on the banking crisis, they’ll start with stronger material and more interesting characters.

Wes Lawson can be reached at 536-3311.