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Starring: Clive Owen, Naomi Watts, Armin Mueller-Stahl, Ulrich Thomsen

Director: Tom Tykwer

Writers: Eric Singer

Cinematography: Frank Griebe

Original Score: Mathilde Bonnafoy

Running Time: 118 mins.

This oh so topical thriller follows very much in the path laid by Bourne and Bond before it, in that it jumps from continent to continent following a big global conspiracy, while our protagonists (Owen and Watts) do much frowning and get caught amidst the odd shootout just to keep our interests ticking over until the final big reveal.

That’s The International in a nutshell, but what makes it topical is that the big villain here is, dum dum dum…the banks who plan to control the world through that biggest of all current evil’s (bigger even than terrorsists apparently) debt! But quite frankly that the villain here are the banks is irrelevant, Clive Owen can clain in interviews that he was drawn to the script becuase he felt it was relevent is ever so irrelevent, I have a hunch that it was perhaps that Owen saw in The International a chance to forge his very own 007 in Interpol agent Louis, and to be fair to the guy he gives it a damn good stab and Owen can do the conflicted hero with the best of them, Daniel Craig and Matt Damon included.

Like Craig in Quantum of Solace though he is lumbered with a largely pointless female counterpart, Naomi Watts seemingly there simply to make up the star count on the posters, it’s not that she isn’t good ,more that the script offers her very little to do other than follow Owen around while he frowns at her and looks suitably dishevelled..or should that be drained!

Indeed Owen looks every inch the movie star and can, as we saw in Children of Men, handle action scenes with aplomb, but here they seem somewhat out of character and when the standout scene comes belief must be suspended. Feeling like we are watching Owen’s audition for Bond rather than something in context with the preceeding 90 minutes. Said scene is a shootout in the Guggenheim and despite the seeming irrelevance Director Tykwer goes all out suggesting he is a man of many talents to watch.

In fact it is the direction that marks out The International as above average, as he proved with Run Lola Run and the hugely under-rated Perfume Tom Tykwer is a talent to watch, and whilst he hasn’t had the best material to work with he has consistently made films that makr his films out as something special and The Internationsl is no exception, yes it’s nowhere hear as original as his previous duo it has the same visual sheen and unique style that mark him out as a true auteur, in fact given a great rather than good script and cast he could, and should, get awards recognition longer down the line. Especially given his versatility to make any number of genres stylish and substantial, a feat many of the greats have stumbled with.

VERDICT

Tykwer’s unique direction elevates The International from the doldrums in which the plot would suggests it belongs, and despite that jarring ‘topical issue’ label of the villainous bank, it a solid thriller that takes a tonal mis-step two thirds in, never-the-less proving Owen can globe-trot and frown with the best of them.

grade-c2

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