Cinema Review - The International

It’s an absolute sin to find yourself bored during a thriller/action movie especially if it had all the right ingredients but was just blended the wrong way. Apart from a few fairly decent shoot-em-up scenes The International was a long-haul dizzy trip to nowhere.

The International is about a rather determined Interpol agent Louis Salinger, played by the charismatic Clive Owen, who is obsessed in taking down the IBBC bank which is neck-deep in dubious arms sales to Third World countries, money laundering, and destabilisation of governments. Why would a bank do such a thing I hear you ask? Well as we all should know at this stage “the essence of the banking industry is to make us all slaves to debt”.

Salinger’s obsession to bring down the evil bank increases after the suspicious death of his case partner and with the help of Manhattan assistant district attorney Eleanor Whitman (Naomi Watts ) he travels to Berlin, to Milan, to New York, and to Istanbul to uncover the illegal activities. Their investigation is severely hampered by the fact that all their witnesses and leads keep dropping like flies around them. However Salinger is relentless and will stop at nothing to get justice, even to the point where he must choose to sacrifice his own ideals for the greater good. How many times have we seen that?

The idea that IBBC is the bank of choice for criminals, terrorists, and spy organisations is certainly plausible and should have worked very well with the right mix of suspense and action but that just did not happen. For one thing the storyline meandered so much that at one stage it was difficult to keep up and then at other times it just sort of fizzled out to the point that you found yourself looking at your watch, taking a toilet break, and hoping the film would spring back to life any time soon. Thankfully, it did spring back with gusto in parts! The shoot out scene which left the Guggenheim museum in urgent need of polyfiller was especially exciting and very much needed.

The action scenes were where director Tom Tykwer really shone. Although I wondered if he had been getting too much inspiration from the latest James Bond flick; watch out for some of the same locations used in Quantum of Solace, eg, the Gardesana lakeside road where the opening car chase took place. It’s just a pity he didn’t sit back, take a breather, edit a little, and not try to do everything. Sometimes, less is more.

Verdict: 3/5


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