Review: The International

Clive Owen and Naomi Watts in The International
Clive Owen and Naomi Watts in The International

Noirish, Stylish and Gritty

The International (R)

Director: Tom Twyker

Cast: Clive Owen, Naomi Watts

Rating: ****

Clive Owen has done many wonderful roles in films like Derailed, Closer and Sin City. We have seen him don strict action roles in Shoot Em Up which became a critical failure for him. However, the actor lives up with The International, which is a realistic action thriller.

Yes, in a time of global recession the script has won some wages and Tom Twyker has directed it. The film is about the Bank of Credit and Commerce International scandal. The screenplay is by Eric Singer who dedicatedly sticks to the plot and doesn’t deviate out of it. Mathilde Bonnafey’s rapid fire editing is a boon to this slick action thriller which at times moves more like Twyker’s previous film Run Lola Run.

The film opens with Interpol agent Louis Salinger trying his best to catch a hitman who works for a fictional bank IBBC (reverse of the original bank’s name). As he moves a few notches up in finding the crook, all of his contacts die. He is unable to find or maintain a particular contact. Here comes Eleanor Whitman, an Assistant District Attorney in Manhattan. The couple cue many questions but still they aren’t going anywhere. They’re stuck with the same issues. Shootouts occur less while assassinations are larger. The sniper kill of the Italian prime ministerial candidate is a good one. The shootout at Guggenheim is explosive. But, the only thing is that this looks realistic. Clive Owen in Shoot Em Up killed around a hundred men and never got a scratch on his body. This time he gets hit badly and manages to shoot and kill three or four only. Well, the set recreation of the Guggenheim spirals is unbelievable. Only, the museum wouldn’t want to turn itself into a place of blood and corpses.

At some sequences we feel the agitation of Clive Owen. For instance, he speaks less and shoots less. Also, he slaps a dead man and tries to check if he’s still alive. Owen however looks the same and sports the usual scrawny beard. Naomi Watts as Eleanor Whitman pulls off a better performance. However, the two don’t seem good as a pair. The film’s climax portrays the best noir ever. The ending shot of the sunrays hitting high on a confused and clueless Clive Owen will send you rolling.

The film offers a little humor. The scene where Watts and Owen discuss in an elevator is a good promo to keep the audience entertained. I noticed that Owen feels more like a superhero who gets hit constantly and never gets a chance to fight back. That is a little degrading.

The film’s visuals are the best. Clive Owen acts more like Jason Bourne when the locations keep changing. However, some ‘nice-to-have’ shots have been excluded to keep the film in its glorious action thriller genre.

The International is a must-watch for its story, Clive Owen, visuals and fine action.


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