The International is one of those films that I really don’t have much to say about it’s the very definition of Hollywood bland. The trailers for the film had me excited to see it. I mean it was an action film staring Clive Owen, what’s not to like? Well, for starters there’s something about Clive Owen. I’m not sure if I particularly like him as an actor. He’s definitely interesting, picks good films and has a strong presence, but it always seems like he’s sleepwalking through his part and is too interested in being and looking cool than actually, you know, acting and emoting. Does every Owen film have to start off with a close up of him just staring blankly at the camera? In this age where we all loathe financial institutions and the executives who run them, I’m ready to buy into the central conceit that bankers are E.V.I.L. bastards who will kill, make arms deals, and do whatever it takes to make a buck. But the problem is, the film takes a long time before it finally establishes your evil cabal of executives at the IBBC bank. By the time we finally see these Execs. So for the first 45 minutes it’s “this bank is evil,” it’s hard to develop an connection to a non-entity.
This bank is so big and evil that they have a hired Consultant (Brian F. O’Byrne) who handles all of the Bank’s problems which is currently the pesky New York District Attorney, Eleanor Whitman (Naomi Watts) who is working with French Agent Louis Salinger (Owen) to bring down the bank. The problem is the Italian and French authorities aren’t being particularly helpful and one helps in an assassination of a political figure. The film jets around from to various locals including Berlin, Paris (I think), Italy and New York and every place they went looked the same – gray, grim, no colors, this is one of the blandest looking films I’ve seen in a long time – well, since I saw Push the day before this screening. There’s no chemistry between Owen and Watts, although I do like that their characters did not have a romantic involvement.
The characters are so disconnected from each other that by the end of the film when Salinger finally confronts one of the Bank Executives, the guy’s response was “Who the heck are you and why are you angry with me?” After seeing Taken as part of my double feature day, it was strange going from a film where you actually care about the characters to this. Every time they try and interject some danger element for the bankers – “Oh, if we don’t do this arms deal, we’re going to go under”, was laughable considering the real world economic situation with the Fed Government bailing out all of these crooks. The film’s ending was one of the worst, most anti-climatic endings I’ve seen in years. This is beyond the head banker not knowing who Salinger was or why he was upset. Stay away from this, it’s not even mindless entertainment because there are moments when it requires to actually pay attention and think. When I did I realized how utterly stupid this movie is.
Final Grade D
EM Review by
Originally Posted 02.13.09