Saturday, August 8, 2009

The International (2009) 5/10


A Interpol agent and his American colleagues attempt to bring down a corrupt international bank.

An amusing play on our modern bank issues, and quasi-based on real events, The International is a film with all the right components, but not well put together. Director Tom Tykwer (Run Lola Run) and first time writer Eric Singer put forth a solid effort in trying to display a real life take on world issues/events. Yet they are unable to find solid footing, unsure of whether they are an action, thriller, or political film. Jumping between them all will leave the audience mildly intrigued, but not fulfilled.

The main character of Louis Salinger (Clive Owens) is your typical above the law Interpol Agent who will do anything at any cost to get the information he needs to bring down the bank. Eleanor Whitman (Naomi Watts) is the tough US district attorney who like Salinger will do whatever it takes. As characters the two are pretty generic, not much depth beyond an occasional outward stare in thought, and there's not much added to the rest of the cast. The "villains" are about as generic as they come, no remorse, smart, tight upper lip types, with the one necessary morally grounded individual who gets ignored anyways.

Having been to the Guggenheim I was very fascinated with the action scene that takes place there, but I hate to say it, because it is so unique, it feels really out of place. The intense spinning action scene seems almost comical with the hard-nosed political thrills of the rest of the film. Almost as if it was thrown in as an afterthought to make the film more exciting towards its rather bland middle.

I don't mean to sound so down on the film, overall it holds your attention, and has several good elements. Clive Owens is always a film plus in terms of charisma, Naomi Watts does a great job, and the directing does a good job of bringing the writing to life. Unfortunately though the writing is just par for the course, and it makes you wonder if Tykwer wouldn't have been better off just writing the screenplay himself?

There's a 50/50 chance The International will work for you, but you have to be willing to accept its flaws and attempts at being something more.

2 better thoughts:

Chase Kahn said...

Yeah, I was kind "meh, it's okay" on the film myself, but I think I read that the Guggenheim scene was, in fact, a re-shoot to make the movie more of an action film.

Naomi Watts' character is such an afterthought. An obvious embellishment just to have a female lead.

It does look fabulous, though, and Tykwer's lingering, almost motionless approach (except said Guggenheim scene)to shooting it worked for me.

TheAnswerMVP2001 said...

The Guggenheim scene was the best part of the film in my opinon, and really the only action sequence. I was kinda disappointed with this one, it could have been much better.

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