Directed by Tom Tykwer.
Written by Eric Singer.
Starring Clive Owen, Naomi Watts, Armin Mueller-Stahl and Ulrich
Release Year: 2009
Review Date: 2/14/09
What perfect timing! A movie about
dirty international banks for Valentine's Day Weekend in today's
"tough economic times"..."The International" is a solid thriller
that makes you quietly hope that just this one time, a Clive Owen
film makes some freakin' money.
Directed by Tom Tykwer, the guy that did
"Run Lola Run", "The International" features an Interpol agent
(Owen) and a Manhattan prosecutor (Naomi Watts) in hot pursuit of
leads that will help them take down the International Bank of
Business & Credit, a Luxembourg-based firm that just happens to be
negotiating a deal to provide funding for missiles to foreign
governments. As we are reminded early in the film after the
Interpol agent's partner is murdered, the IBBC has a penchant for
being involved in the deaths of everyone who has been investigating
their operations, so it's up to our lead twosome to get to the
bottom of it. Globetrotting, snipers, Italian investigators
and a shootout at the Guggenheim in New York ensue!
"The International" has probably been called
"a taut, gripping thriller" by somebody that gets paid to
do this, but
in this case, I'd have to admit that's what we have here--a
wall-to-wall entertaining thriller with very minor twists, logical
explanations for a vast world of crime, a couple of nice action
sequences and beautiful cinematography. This is one of those
slick productions that would seem lost without a slick lead like
Owen, who looks like hell throughout the movie but he never seems
out of place. Strangely, I wished that the last Bond movie
would have been more like "The International", more focused on
crime-fighting than piling up bodybags, but with the same focus on
vast building lobbies, beautiful people on location in Italy or
Turkey or Luxembourg or France, high-end technology and dirty
government dealings. Maybe this will bag Tykwer a bigger
budget and a Bond contract!
Owen and Watts are capable as performers
here; the script in general is nice in that it's not too wordy or
voluminous, so Watts almost feels like a secondary performer because
she often doesn't have much to do. The supporting cast of
international players all fit just right, and the film doesn't
really have too many extras...I laughed maybe twice (and even those
were mere chuckles), there is no romantic angle (perfect for the
material), there is no cool, WTF-style surprise, the soundtrack is
"The International" is one of those rare
three-out-of-four stars movies that gets released early in the year
mainly to make money and add to the canon of the players involved.
I would be surprised if this makes big money, but for a good Friday
night entertainment for adults, this one fits quite well.
Rating: $9.50 Show
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Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard