Saturday, April 11, 2009

Review - The International

An Interpol Agent and New York Assistant District Attorney work together to take down a corrupt International Bank that profits from financing terror and war. Their investigation crosses the borders of Berlin, Milan, New York and Istanbul combining in a relentless race around the globe testing both their resolve and lives.

Run Lola Run director Tom Tykwer presents an enthralling thriller that is riveting, perfectly written, well acted throughout, featuring some brilliant action sequences that thrill and excite as they unfold. "The International" however, suffers from a being just a bit over-ambitious with it's international plot, resulting in an ending that is anti-climatic and ultimately meaningless.

Clive Owen delivers a powerful performance as Louis Salinger, the French Interpol Agent in "The International." Owen brings a perfect combination of tenacity and desperation to his role, so much so, the viewer becomes completely engrossed in his character's actions as he delves further into the underbelly of the international bank known as the IBBC. Owen once again, shows off he is well suited for action films. Naomi Watts overall is a very minor character in the grand scheme of the film, but she pulls off another capable performance in "The International" as Eleanor Whitman the Manhattan Assistant District Attorney. Her screen time shared with Owen are her better moments in the film and quite simply, she allows Owen to carry the stimulating thriller.

The supporting cast in "The International" are equally oustanding. Armin Mueller-Stahl (Eastern Promises), Brian F. O'Byrne (Before the Devil Knows Your Dead) and Ulrich Thomsen (Hitman) are all very strong in their roles creating a believable network within the IBBC. Mueller-Stahl specifically, delivers a poignant performance as Wilhelm Wexler the IBBC intelligence adversary. The very presenece of his character in the film instantly imposed a feeling of fear. O'Byrne was also very steadfast as the hired gun for the IBBC, his role in the Guggenheim action sequence is flawless.

"The International" has a great pace and mood throughout, one that keeps the intensity rolling during the 118 minute film. The dialogue is engaging and submerses the viewer within the elaborate investigative story. The action is refined and the shootout sequence in the Guggenheim in New York City is mesmorizing. It is not too often that a action sequence is so brilliantly executed and filmed. The Guggenheim sequence also marks a great midway point to the film, it is where the viewer realizes the degree of complexity the IBBC has created. From this point on in the film, it is clear that the investigation of the IBBC may be doomed.

"The International" while trying to demonize some of the evils of capitalism on a global stage, it becomes evident, that the overall message is lost. The finale of the film becomes anti-climatic and pointless. The viewer is faced with the reality that the Interpol Agent has had to face, that the IBBC may be too entrenched in the global world to stop. The film unfortunately ends leaving the viewer wondering so what and faced with the reality of what capitalism can create when left to the evils of society. "The International" overall is well worth a watch and finally, entertaining despite it's disappointing ending.