Inspired by a banking scandal, The International is supposed to be an action-thriller. It turns out to be neither – there is only one action sequence, which happens to be the only thrill the movie offers. Coming from the director of Run Lola Run, The International is a total disappointment. Heck, it’d be a disappointment even if it was made by someone else, but this is worse because Tom Tykwer being at the helm of matters can get anyone excited.
Louis Salinger (Clive Owen) is an Interpol agent who knows the International Bank Of Business And Credit (IBBC) is up to some shady stuff. With the help of the goodlooking Eleanor Whitman (Naomi Watts), he decides to take on the IBBC. The story is interesting, but that’s about it. At the beginning of the film, Salinger’s partner Thomas Schumer is sitting in a car with another man, one Andre Clement. They’re talking about a major nuclear purchase the IBBC is going to make for a deal with China.Thomas gets out of the car and is about to cross the street where Salinger is waiting. Suddenly, Thomas vomits and falls to the ground and dies.
Salinger knows Thomas has not died of a heart attack but has been assasinated, and we find out a little later Clement also has died under mysterious circumstances. This is also when you can let your excitement die, because the rest of the movie is a total brain-strain that will put you to sleep.
Turns out Salinger had attempted something similar earlier but his plan had flopped, just like this movie is going to. There is a man called Calvini, who is the head of a weapons defense organisation. Calvini had refused to do business with the IBBC, and as a result, gets shot in the head while giving a speech. When people in the movie die, you feel happy for them as they are set free and are not stuck in the theatre like you.
The rest of The International is packed with incredibly dull moments that think they’re exciting. The dialogue tries really hard to be profound and there are at least half a dozen times you’ll say, ‘Yeah, right!’. There are so many people walking in an out of scenes in The International that you won’t know who’s doing what. Everyone tries to look intense and like they mean business but you simply don’t care – the story doesn’t engage you at all.
The performances are hardly worth a mention – there is zero chemistry between Owen and Watts. At some point, Naomi Watts asks, ‘What was that?’. My question exactly.
The only time you feel entertained is during the neat action sequence. Shot in a famous museum in New York, there are plenty of bullets flying around, and the bang-bang comes as a relief.
There are two funny scenes in The International – one is when cops frighten a paranoid doctor by telling him one of his patients is a psychopathic serial killer. The other funny scene – you will let out a tired laugh at how the movie ends… and it’s not even meant to be funny.
The International is highly recommended for insomniacs, so take a pillow along if you’re actually going for this boring thriller.
[From my Buzz18 reviews]