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The International

A movie directed by Tom Tykwer

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a big, bad bank and a couple of dogged agents on its trail

  • Jul 31, 2009
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Clive Owen plays an intrepid Interpol agent who's obsessed with a big, bad bank; but every time he tries to bring it down legally someone dies. He might have to take the law into his own hands.

Naomi Watts is earning a fat paycheck from some other bank by playing the obligatory pretty American woman and FBI agent in a story that does nothing at all to take advantage of her considerable acting chops.

The writing is pure generic Hollywood style - with characters reciting lines intended at once to advance the plot and to explain things to the audience - but the action rarely manages to quicken the pulse in the way the best Hollywood action flicks do.

Tom Twyker once knew how to ratchet up tension. The film that put him on the map -- Run Lola Run -- is one of the most intense and exhilirating films I've seen. Unfortunately, apart from the scene where he shoots up the Guggenheim - some kind of message about the lack of artistic pretensions in this film? - The International is pretty lame for a thriller.

The message - that terrorism and despotism around the world are financed by international capitalists who are acting in their own self interest, and that nearly everyone has something at stake in the financial system that makes this possible - is perhaps timely but delivered in far too heavyhanded a fashion to be effective.

Too bad. With rare exceptions, this kind of bland filmmaking is what happens when inventive independent and international filmmakers are wooed to Hollywood.

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More The International reviews
review by . July 08, 2010
Lots of crime movies come out of Hollywood every year. Many of them deal with secret agents gone awol, being betrayed, or doing something they shouldn't be. Many of these films are played out in the context of the Cold War, drug smuggling, the illegal arms trade, and other criminal activities. But the one thing they all share is that they do not even come close to alluding to real life events or people. Until now, with this 2009 release. The movie follows the ordeal of an Interpol agent and a US …
review by . January 03, 2010
THE INTERNATIONAL is another of those loud films that seeks to inform the public of just how corrupt every country is when it comes to banking and the sale of illegal arms. The story is slight as written by Eric Singer, the direction by Tom Tykwer is tense and takes great advantage of some gorgeous images of locations (cinematographer Frank Griebe) but then destroys them with endless rounds of gunplay: the Guggenheim Museum is destroyed before our eyes, elegant buildings and plazas in Luxembourg, …
review by . July 10, 2009
The International stars Clive Owen as a Agent who realizes that the case he's working on has more twists and turns than Lombard Street.  Even though it has a layered plot and Naomi Watts the movie is a real snoozer.  The producers trick the public into thinking they're watching an action film instead of a drama/mystery.  I guess that's why the producers decided to add a little violence into the film (The museum shoot out) to not only throw the audience a bone but to market it as a …
review by . September 30, 2009
-"The IBBC is a bank. Their objective isn't to control the conflict, it's to control the debt that the conflict produces. You see, the real value of a conflict, the true value, is in the debt that it creates. You control the debt, you control everything. You find this upsetting, yes? But this is the very essence of the banking industry, to make us all, whether we be nations or individuals, slaves to debt."     There you have it, the only good part of the movie that was sad to …
review by . April 14, 2009
Short Attention Span Summary (SASS):     1. Clive Owen plays a grungy Interpol agent trying to bring down an unscrupulous bank, but keeps running into dead ends - literally.   2. Naomi Watts barely registers as an Assistant District Attorney who also wants to bring the offending bank to justice.   3. If you're looking for nookie, skip this one altogether   4. Stunning visual tour of the architecture of Berlin, Milan, the Guggenheim Museum in New …
About the reviewer
Nathan Andersen ()
Ranked #68
I teach philosophy at Eckerd College, in Saint Petersburg, Florida.      I run an award-winning International Cinema series in Tampa Bay (www.eckerd.edu/ic), and am co-director of … more
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About this movie


The International is an American-German action thriller film directed by Tom Tykwer and starring Clive Owen and Naomi Watts. The film follows a pair that investigates corruption within a banking institution. Production began in Berlin in September 2007. The film opened the 2009 Berlin International Film Festival on February the 5th. The film was inspired by the Bank of Credit and Commerce International banking scandal.
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Director: Tom Tykwer
Genre: Action, Adventure
Release Date: 13 February 2009
Runtime: 118 min
Studio: Columbia Pictures
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