Tuesday, February 21, 2012

THE INTERNATIONAL - movie review

The International

Starring: Clive Owen, Naomi Watts, Armin Mueller-Stahl, Ulrich Thomsen.

Running time: 118 minutes

Year: 2009

Directed By: Tom Tykwer.

Written By: Eric Singer.

This is  a conspiracy filled action thriller involving problems with banks and bankers, released in 2009 during the break down of American banks, causing the world wide recession. The film is as dull as what the politics behind the recession really are. I can imagine it involves people sitting in a room talking about things I am really not interested in. Well I don't have to imagine anymore because I have just watched a two hour version of something that is very uninteresting.

Clive Owen is Interpol Agent Louis Salinger, teaming up with District Attorney Eleanor Whitman (Watts). They are investigating the conspiracy involved within the IBBC (International Bank of Business and Credit), headed by Jonas Skarssen (Thomsen). They are selling weapons to countries either side of a potential war in the hope that it will cause conflict and ultimately they can control the debt riding high between the two countries. Control the debt, control the war, control the country. Salinger and Whitman believe that this is going on but must attempt to prove it and find themselves travelling from Berlin to Milan to New York to Istanbul to do it.

The film opens with Salinger's partner being killed during an interview with a potential mole in Berlin. Once he discovers who the meeting was with, Salinger travels to Italy to speak with a politician who is also an weapons manufacturer potentially selling his weaponry to the bank. Once he is killed by an assassin from IBBC, Salinger follows the lead to New York, where he partakes in a giant shoot out inside the Guggenheim Museum (a brilliantly shot piece of cinema). By spying on the assassin he manages to bring in the investigator from the bank, which then leads him to Turkey where he can finally confront the head of the entire organisation, who seems to have no remorse for his actions. This part is very contrived.

A huge problem with the film for me is exactly what I have just explained above. The film jumps around from location to location as if it is the only way to keep the film exciting. They travel but end up sitting in an office talking to one another. By half way through I was bored of all this and wanted something to spring the film into life. Finally we had the bit that I had been waiting for since the trailers. The brilliant shoot out inside the Guggenheim Museum. I'm telling you now this is the only reason to see this movie. The shooting of it is brilliant, the direction and the effects are great and the camera work, spinning like the floors of the museum, makes you dizzy and within the action. This fifteen minute segment is the only good thing about this film and is possibly the reason Clive Owen agreed to do it.

It must be the only reason that he chose to do it because his lack of enthusiasm within the role is obvious. He brings nothing new or exciting to the role and his character has nothing about him. He didn't interest me with no back story or relationships or any real reason for his actions. His lines towards the end also came from a poetry book and became very clich├ęd. He is just a one dimensional character and isn't likeable. Clive Owen may have done the film due to the museum scene, hell I would have done it for that scene, but I don't understand why Naomi Watts agreed to be in this film. Her character is completely underused and only pops up in a few talky scenes, where she brings nothing to the scene at all. She also brings nothing to the character either, as if half way through she realised this film is not good for her and she gave up. The acting and script are poor, and the dialogue is far too expositional at times.

The best bit of the film is that shoot out and I keep referring to it as it is the only thing that I really enjoyed about it. Bullets fly around the spiral floors as each set of shooters run counter clockwise from one another. Blood splatters, glass flies, it really is an entertaining sequence, even more so knowing that it was done on a sound stage, but it has very little relevance to the film. It is as if the writer put this scene in to make sure the film wasn't boring because without it, it really would be. I don't know why it was in the Guggenheim and why it was so overblown as they could have taken each other out silently on route to the museum.

The film just seems very set up. It is obvious actors have been placed and dialogue is used to explain too much. It doesn't flow and doesn't feel like a world we can delve into. I was hoping for a little more especially from the trailers action packed activities. If it wasn't for the Guggenheim this film would be terrible so thank God Tykwer decided to put it in.

1.5 / 5


Next film to review: BACK TO THE FUTURE

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