I really enjoyed THE INTERNATIONAL: it's a solid, intelligent thriller that neatly side-steps a few irritating genre conventions but also delivers a very slick, satisfying action set-piece.
The set up is simple. Clive Owen and Naomi Watts play an Interpol officer and a New York DA trying to frame a case against a shady Luxembourg based bank. Based non-too subtly on the infamous BCCI, the bank is using its capital to broker arms deals, selling cheap weapons from China to fund coups in Africa. It uses any means necessary to protect its interests. The movie is essentially a police procedural in which our two investigators track an IBBC assassin. CSI: Eurozone leads them back to New York where a quite magnificent shoot out takes place in the Guggenheim. (I acknowledge that, strictly speaking, there is no reason to have a shoot-out in an architectural marvel, but my word, it's glorious.) Thereafter, it would've been quite easy for director Tom Tykwer to have rolled into a high-octane, pat ending. Rather, he reverts to the discursive, restrained tone of the preceeding scenes. There is no simmering sexual tension between the leads; no dramatic denouement a la MICHAEL CLAYTON. We leave the film as we begin - the world is "enslaved to debt". I find this a fitting, if bleak, film for our times.
THE INTERNATIONAL played Berlin 2009 and is currently on release in Germany, the USA, Egypt, Australia, Sweden, the Philippines, Croatia, Russia, South Korea, Finland, Iceland, Kazakhstan, Norway, the UK, Venezuela, Denmark and Estonia. It opens next week in Belgium and France and on March 19th in Argentina, Greece and Italy. It opens on March 27th in Russia, Poland and Romania. It opens in April in Japan, the Czech Republic, Israel, Singapore and Turkey.
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