Stars: Clive Owen, Naomi Watts, Armin Mueller – Stahl, Ulrich Thompson, Bryan O’Byrne, Felix Solis, and Jack McGee
Directed By: Tom Tykwer
Runtime: 118 min.
A compelling espionage film that succeeds in exposing an untapped enemy in the war for global domination, however fails to provide the riveting atmosphere you’d expect from an action film. The International is a slow burn conspiratorial drama that hits hard in the middle, and then slow burns all the way out to its somewhat anti climatic ending…
Louis Salinger (Owen), ex Scotland Yard now Interpol Agent, and Manhattan Assistant District Attorney, Eleanor Whitman (Watts), are close to exposing arms sales to various third world countries through one of the worlds biggest banks. The I.B.B.C. ( International Bank of Business and Commerce), however intends to keep this all very secret as their personal consultant/assassin (O’Byrne) is contracted to eliminate targets that pose threats to their financial and global deadlines.
With the help of Detective’s (Solis/ McGee), Louis exposes the assassin, however things don’t always go as planned. (Insert big action scene here). Coming to grips that he’s getting in way over his head, Louis is compelled to make heavy sacrifices and alliances to expose the truth.
Fine performance by Owen, he’s got the usual F.U. smirk going on full time. Watts didn’t do much for me, she’s the token female agent in this one. The two Detectives played by Felix Solis & Jack McGee were standout, and actually gave the film some desperately needed soul. Great performances also by the Hitman, Brian F. O’Byrne and IBBC insider Armin Mueller-Stahl.
The film is shot with a love for architecture as IBBC headquarters and a few other locations are modern wonders of construction. One of the biggest letdowns of the film was the soundtrack. The infrequent score was mortuary-like in its flavor and substance. Overall I found the film to be very dry, as far as its overall tone and whip lash ending.
I think fans of compelling drama will enjoy the film for what it delivers. There’s some “James Bond” inspired cinematography, and a funny “Star Wars” gag, but action seekers will need a long attention span to hang with this one…