Looking back at Clive Owen’s resume for the last five years (after “Closer”), I had a suspicion that either he was a good actor, or he constantly made a right pick of the film he was set to appear because the way I see it, whatever he is, wherever he is, however the overall quality of the film he was billed, one thing remain unchanged. His charisma. “The International” however, doesn’t feel complete, even with his presence. Therefore, I dare to say that this is his most sub-par work for the last five years.
“The International” intended to introduce us to the evil institution known as the Bank. Clive Owen is Louis Sallinger, an ex-Scotland Yard now at Interpol. It was hinted that Agent Sallinger has been on a case for quite some time perhaps bordering to an obsession. The first minute of the film hinted that he was closing to break this case. But of course, it wasn’t that easy, was it? The case he was working on is a Luxembourg based bank, IBBC. Apparently the case was worldwide as he had had help from NY-based District Attorney, Eleanor Withman (Naomi Watts) among others. Proceeding as such, Sallinger (and Whitman) travels around Europe and New York, sniffing and unraveling the veil that shrouded the IBBC as he goes.
This film tries so much to be a thriller film not unlike that Bourne series, but differs ultimately in a way that even if the film tries to be complicated, it wasn’t that hard to figure out or to follow. Further, the only thrilling element I could ascertained lies on the score which is of course, once you’ve heard enough, it grows old rather quickly. Added to that, I also find that Sallinger wasn’t quite troubled with the case. I even brooding up a suspicion at some point that Sallinger could really solve this case in his sleep.
Atypical to an executive-level thriller-slash-power play, this film has numerous names and faces to remember. Again, it wasn’t that hard to follow or to tell who is who. However, the only actor I could sympathizes upon is Armin Mueller-Stahl who plays the evil empire consultant, Wilhelm Wexler. Clive Owen is almost in his usual self. Brooding a charm but the tight script and timeline doesn’t allow him to evolve much. Naomi Watts is clearly a waste of talent because her role isn’t significant that you could cross her off of the list without any damage nor dent to the overall vehicle. Also, the way Tom Tykwer choses to end his film might be not acceptable to most.
My rating: ** / **** Tries hard to be a thriller, while it was anything but. Exotic places to boot, with an extended gunfight to make an action fan content (not happy, just content), this film is more like talents wasting charade than an espionage thriller film it was intended to be. Even so, I love Clive Owen and Naomi Watts.