Thursday Night Movie Club
The International
star rating graphicstar rating graphic½
Release Date: 13 February 2009

Director: Tom Tykwer
Clive Owen
Naomi Watts
Armin Mueller-Stahl
Ulrich Thomsen
Brķan F. O'Byrne
Michel Voletti
Patrick Baladi
Jay Villiers
Fabrice Scott
Haluk Bilginer
Luca Barbareschi
Alessandro Fabrizi
Felix Solis
Jack McGee
Nilaja Sun
Louis Salinger
Eleanor Whitman
Wilhelm Wexler
Jonas Skarssen
The Consultant
Viktor Haas
Martin White
Francis Ehames
Nicolai Yeshinski
Ahmet Sunay
Umberto Calvini
Inspector Alberto Cerutti
Detective Iggy Ornelas
Detective Bernie Ward
Detective Gloria Hubbard
The International movie poster The International movie poster The International movie poster
Clive Owen and Naomi Watts in The InternationalThe International is an interesting yet a bit dull cat-and-mouse mystery involving a shady bank The International Bank of Business and Trust. Interpol agent Louis Salinger is in Berlin with his partner. They are meeting with a bank employee who they hope will blow the whistle on the bank's nefarious business dealings.

Immediately following the rendezvous, Salinger's partner dies of an apparent heart attack. Salinger's investigation into his partner's death concludes with a diagnosis of cyanide poisoning. When the informant dies in an apparent auto accident, the game is afoot.

Clive Owen as Louis Salinger in The InternationalSalinger pertners up with New York District Attorney Eleanor Whitman who is investigating the Bank's dealings from New York. Most of the bank's illegal activities are centered around the New York branch. Their investigation in Berlin is stymied by the local police. An investigation Salinger handled while working for Scotland Yard leads the Berlin police to not believe his story. The two are sent packing home. The International's influence reaches far and wide.

The investigation leads to Umberto Calvini (Luca Barbareschi), head of a weapons corporation and also running for Prime Minister of Italy. Before Calvini can be questioned, he is murdered during a political rally. From the evidence at the scene, the shooter was a member of the Red Brigade. Calvini's death was a political assassination. The killer was in turn killed by the police. Forensics shows the trajectory of the bullet could not have come from the killer. Another assassin is still active.

Naomi Watts and Clive Owen in The InternationalThe remainder of The International becomes increasingly confusing. Suffice it to say, The International will stop at nothing to complete the missile purchase. They have killed Calvini in order to deal with the next in line. They hunt down their own assassin and Salinger to remove two thorns in one stroke.

The signature sequence involves a gun battle inside an art museum. The museum is one long spiral with a great opening in the center and all of the art pieces set along the outer walls. In this fashion, the art must be viewed in a linear progression. This is a great way for viewing art individually and as a whole, not so great if you are trapped in the middle. Allegiances change as the need arises.

Clive Owen once again puts in a fabulous performance. Owen can take any material and make it better. He is very consistent in taking his craft seriously. Naomi Watts is also very good. Unfortunately, there is nothing special happening between the two leads. There aren't any personality clashes. There isn't much of a romantic spark between Owen and Watts.

Naomi Watts and Clive Owen in The InternationalLouis Salinger has had previous dealings with the International. He was discredited. The International never takes a leap of faith to explore whether there is really something sinister happening at the International or is Salinger out for vengeance? The main problems with The International are the screenwriters did not give Owen and Watts emotional, human characters. The two very good actors don't have much to do besides solve the case. The film could have been a bit better with a healthy dose of paranoia.

The International is too complex for its own good. Miss one piece of information and later connections won't easily be made or understood. At some times, the film proceeds to quickly. As ridiculous as it may seem, a little exposition/recap along the way might help. Then again, a repeat viewing will certainly help. Unfortunately, the audience may be too overwhelmed to spend the extra money for a repeat viewing. The International is a movie so everything will work out for the powers of good over evil.