'The International' Review
Valleys later, peaks first. A global corruption travelogue, the film begins outside
Watching this encounter from across a busy street is an Interpol agent, played by Clive Owen, wearing an overcoat and a knitted brow.
The chaos that ensues is sharply effective, well-staged, well-edited, well-scored -- everything you want in an opener.
In a film that exists largely for its set pieces, the most flamboyant arrives at the two-thirds mark, and it's a dilly. Owen's character, Louis Salinger, a former Scotland Yard detective with a checkered resume, has accompanied a couple of
They're tailing an assassin, played by Brian F. O'Byrne, who is meeting with another adviser to the I.B.B.C. He's portrayed by my current favorite character actor, Armin Mueller-Stahl, who deserves
Designed to give architecture preservationists a
Getting in and out of such sequences, however, which include an assassination at a Milan political rally, is not the film's strong suit.
For two years, Owen's Interpol agent and his ally in the
The many-tentacled organism, whose managers are perpetually taking meetings in high-ceilinged, vaguely threatening offices, foments revolution in one country while mucking around with organized crime in another.
Certainly this is an apt time to release a thriller whose villains all work for a bank, especially a bank so arrogant in its murderous lack of scruples. But "The International" plods between action sequences. The bank's evildoing is taken for granted early on and never develops any wrinkles or narrative surprise, and while the script's intent is to paint a backdrop of multinational, free-floating amorality, involving everyone but Mr. Owen's personal publicist, the dialogue is merely functional.
"We're just trying to get to the truth!' Watts asserts at one point, saying something no actor should have to say, ever. (You'd never know from this performance how good Watts really is.) Elsewhere Owen levels her with the line: "Sometimes the hardest thing is to know which bridge to cross, and which one to burn. I'm the one you burn." The look Watts gives him in return betrays a hint of: Not sure I caught your metaphor.
Still, I wonder if audiences half-expect klutzy, formulaic dialogue if only because they've been hearing it all their moviegoing lives. There are compensations here, starting with the reassuring gloss and elegance to the surfaces of "The International."
While its globe-trotting itinerary recalls the mad whirl of a "Bourne" picture, nothing about this film's style resembles the second or third "Bourne" outings (which I loved). No
If only a filmmaker could send his film in for a script punch-up and polish after it was finished!