Saturday, February 14, 2009

"The International" (2009) - Movie Review

When the trailers for “The International” started coming up, I noticed the director of the film is Tom Tykwer. Tykwer, the director of the ethereal film “Perfume: The Story of a Murderer” and it puzzled me. Clearly the trailer’s indication of “The International” does not fall into the leagues of Tykwer. It appeared to be the cheesy thriller which is destined to fail and it reveals most of its main plots to attract the viewers, a typical procedure. The truth though is that both the film and the trailer begins by telling that the fictional International Bank of Business and Credit (IBBC) conducts questionable business choices upfront. The movie is the process of building evidences amongst dead and disappearing pertinent people and there you can see how a talented director like Tykwer can make a plot of nothing into something else.

I always like a film where it finds thrill in the places of silence and stillness. That is something Tykwer managed to do in “Perfume:...” and the eye treating “Heaven”. There is a stalking that consummates into a bloody battle throwing the film out of its envelope a little. As Agent Louis Salinger (Clive Owen) from Interpol works out day and night in trying to find hard evidences connecting IBBC with the wrongdoings, the camera always has a broad way of showing a single man against a giant structure. A feat which at the end becomes quite unachievable by the realm of definition the justice has moulded Salinger for.

The villains of “The International” are couple of them with that one leader Jonas Skarssen (Ulrich Thomsen) and he is smooth and subtle but mainly not deadly and demoniacal a film of this kind generally attempts to show. He knows exactly his implications and operations are but not menacing. He is a cold man enough to convince himself of the way the world works. Along with New York District Attorney Eleanor (Naomi Watts), Salinger tries to pin this company down both moving with the minimum evidence they got and mainly working on their instinctive common sense. Nothing spectacular but simple things they have acquired in the jobs which any hard working person would have working so long. They manage to find the trajectories of bullets using flag sticks and get the footprints hiding under stagnant pool of water on the roof of the building. Those are which makes them more human to this gargantuan plot of accusing banks of trafficking money for the purpose of controlling, well the power of control as such.

The idea is quite extraordinarily explained by a defense company head Umberto Calvini (Luca Giorgio Barbareschi) who broke the deal with IBBC. He explains that we are indeed moved around by the money we owe than actually what we have. And the characters whom they meet on different countries as cops and agents automatically became a supporting cast befriending their new colleagues. Such happens when Salinger hunts down the assassin (Brian F. O’Byrne) with the New York Detectives (Felix Solis and Jack McGee). Salinger impresses them with his out of the usual technique in getting information and they find a frequency as the screenplay does.

The assassin gets a good ironical name from the company referring him as “The Consultant”. I quite did not go all the way into admiring this film which obviously loses control in the shooting fall out in the art museum. IMDB Trivia indicates that the film had bad previews and scenes were reshot to make it an action film. What a shame. But it only suffers a little bit of it and then comes back to the most intense scenes in it. With Salinger suffered enough defeats and meeting considerable amounts of dead ends, he is confronted by a choice by a crucial partner in the IBBC, Wilhelm Wexler (Armin Mueller-Stahl). Wilhelm has been that idealist what Salinger aspires to be and has taken the choices which he never really liked for greater good and that obviously did not turn out rosy. He places the exact same offer to Salinger and he knows he has hit his limit.

“The International” is a film which seem to give the feel of routine thriller action but is a more polished and very importantly intelligent film. It has Clive Owen who appears to be born to do roles like this, a run down man for so many times and not even once boring the audience. He is so good at it that he can produce a series of “Harry Callaghan” types of films Eastwood did. Along with a very supportive supporting cast as screenplay makes them to be and a panoramic view of Tom Tykwer, “The International” churns things out of nothings and it is good enough to keep you interested for the two hours of it.

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