Reel Society

Reviews for the latest movies in theaters and on DVD.

The International


Review by Paul Edwards

Run Lola Run is one of the most fascinating action thrillers of our time. Its director, Tom Twyker, used all sorts of mediums such as animation, slow-motion, pictures, and flashbacks to highlight one girl’s journey through time, memory, death, and love. When I saw that film, I thought I was seeing another great director in bloom. With the opening of The International, it shows that Twyker’s vision will not be hindered by budget or studio.

The International, starring Clive Owen and Naomi Watts, is a pretty dense crime thriller whose overly complicated plot makes it almost too much too handle. The film follows Interpol agent Louis Salinger, as he tries to get justice for an informant who was killed while trying to get information on what could possibly be one of the most corrupt banks in history, the IBBC. This introduces Eleanor Whitman, the Assistant DA of New York, whose co-worker has also been killed.

On the whole, the film itself wasn’t bad. The cinematic work was very well done; from the sounds of a syringe to the epic shots of the Guggenheim Museum and other vistas in Germany, it is up there in terms of quality.  It was one of the first films ever where I actually noticed the set design and the locations (which was maybe because the accents on some of the supporting cast was so thick I could barely understand them, or that the plot kept going in circles, but one thing is for sure, this film was fun to listen to and look at).

However, on the flip side, the IBBC (The International Bank of Business and Credit), an entity that seems to have its tentacles everywhere, creates an overall atmosphere of paranoia and suspicion.  It was not a very entertaining feeling to have when watching a film. I think this feeling took me over since the plot started, ‘in progress.’ Plus, the way the informant was murdered made every extra a suspect, especially early on in the film.

One thing that this film reminded me of when I first heard of it was the BCCI (The Bank of Credit and Commerce International), that were actually guilty of some of the things proposed in the film. They were actually indicted by a Manhattan DA for illegally buying a United States bank and they pled guilty on all counts. While they were not illegally selling weapons, they were illegally manipulating the market and laundering money.  The BCCI paid over $10 million in fines and forfeited over $550 million in United States assets. So, while in the cinematic sense the outrageous plot did not work, sometimes the truth is stranger then fiction.  And just as scary.

2 ½ / 5 stars

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