The International

    Banks have been taking a pounding in the press these days for mismanagement, begging for bailouts from the government, and for executives receiving bonuses after doing a bad job. The International will do nothing to improve the image of the banking community. In their first major Hollywood production, German director Tom Tykwer and writer Eric Singer, try to create a dramatic thriller that will keep the audience glued to the screen. Clive Owen (Shoot ‘Em Up) and Naomi Watts (King Kong) star as Interpol agent Louis Salinger and Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Eleanor Whitman.

     Salinger and Whitman are trying to bring down the International Bank of Business and Credit which is involved in some pretty dirty business deals. IBBC has been linked to money laundering, missile trading and the breakup of governments around the world. Berlin, Milan, New York City, and Istanbul are just a few of the places that Salinger and Whitman go in their investigation to stop the IBBC. The pressure is building as Salinger and Whitman are running out of time to make their case because the IBBC has friends in very high places. Jonas Skarssen’s (Ulrich Thomsen, Hitman), the ruthless CEO of the IBBC, goal is to sell missiles to third-world countries in hopes that war will breakout and huge profits will result in the collection of debts. When Salinger and Whitman start to get close to breaking their case wide open, IBBC executive  Wilhelm Wexler (Armin Mueller-Stahl, Eastern Promises) usually contacts the consultant (Brian F. O’Byrne, Million Dollar Baby) to clean up any messes. The events of The International are actually based on the activities of two real financial institutions, the Permindex Trade Organization in Canada and the Bank of Credit and Commerce International in Pakistan.

     The pace of The International moves slowly at times, like a teller line on a Friday afternoon, as we watch Salinger and Whitman conduct interviews, argue with their bosses, and try to figure out their next step. The action picks up dramatically when bullets start to fly at the Guggenheim Museum. Salinger and the consultant get in a major shootout with a squad of IBBC hitmen. The action is fast and hard-hitting as Salinger and the consultant battle floor-by-floor trying to escape the onslaught of heavy gunfire. The Guggenheim scene breathes life into an otherwise slow moving thriller.

     Clive Owen brings a rewarding intensity to his role as a seeker of justice. Salinger’s confrontations with the coroner, his boss, Wexler, and Skarssen show how badly he wants to bring justice to the IBBC. Naomi Watts is not given much to work with thus she produces little to notice. Whitman is often absent in the most dramatic scenes.

     While The International does not pay huge dividends, its better than keeping your money hidden under your mattress.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Post