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Home Reviews Cinema reviews The International
The International Print E-mail
Written by Ivan Radford   
Friday, 27 February 2009 12:00
Director: Tom Tykwer
Cast: Clive Owen, Naomi Watts
Certificate: 15

Banks are evil. That's the message behind Tom Tykwer's tense thriller. But the most of evil of all the banks? Why, that be those at the IBBC (International Bank of Business and Credit), specifically Jonas Skarssen (Thomsen) and Wilhelm Wexler (Mueller-Stahl). One’s German, the other Danish – even their names sound evil.

They’re so evil that they’re conspiring to control weapons, governments and debt everywhere. And they mean everywhere; meeting in Berlin, Istanbul, Milan and New York, the sinister suits are followed across the globe by one man: Interpol agent Louis Salinger (Owen). And one woman: Assistant DA Eleanor Whitman (Watts).

Interpol? Chasing down dodgy finance? Hell yes. After the daylight murder of his partner, Salinger is determined to see justice done. Cue stubble, sleep deprivation and lots of serious facial expressions. But even when it all seems so predictable, Tykwer’s story somehow never fails to entertain. Expecting some one-liners? Or a spot of romance? Eric Singer’s intelligent script is having none of it. For the two straight-laced leads, the job is simple: weed out the rich guys, and take them down.

Well made and nicely shot, with lots of glass buildings, The International keeps its pace up despite a comparative lack of set pieces. That is, until the end of the film, when the dialogue-driven movie hands the keys over to a cracking shootout in the Guggenheim – windows shattering, the public fleeing, Salinger shoots his way out of a bloodbath with Bond-like ruthlessness. If anything, it’s better than Bond. A topical take on the world’s economy? Held together by a fractured male lead? This is what Quantum of Solace wanted to be. And more.


Exciting, relevant and with brains to boot, The International is the perfect antidote for the recession: Clive Owen shooting bankers in the face.