The International: Film Review

a film review by j. lucas walker
Film Critic of the Addlestone Library

THE INTERNATIONAL was released in the late winter of last year but has lost none of the steely sheer of its timely subject matter.  A big corporate bank and its financial web of pain and deceit rule the day.  Included in the carnage is their own brand of ripple down economics and the collateral damage left in its wake.  This film demands the attention of the political thriller- enthusiast who appreciates multi-layered plot lines and smart film elements.

Big topics in cinema should sometimes be acquiesced with a film that carries the ‘big look’ and director Tom Tykwer (Run Lola Run) delivers.

The story is scattered across many continents which include the cities of Luxemburg, Milan, Istanbul, New York, and Lyon among others.  The chase is on and the pacing is relentless.

Our heroes, Interpol agent (Clive Owen) and Manhattan Assistant DA (Naomi Watts) are after the International Bank of Business and Credit (IBBC).  The executives that are running it are brokering small countries through arms trade, terrorist schemes and the coups that come with it.  The villain of interest who will neatly tie everything together for the Interpol bust is a highly capable and cunning assassin contracted by the IBBC.

It is unfortunate that The International passed under the radar upon it’s release.  The screenplay by Eric Singer throws out a few lines of cliché but for the most part keeps it moving with no nonsense-seriousness.  Pay attention to the details for there are many layers and quite a few players involved.  This is a serious look into the operations of a renegade financial regime and their ceaseless appetite for the power and the glory.  The visual feast that ensues from start to finish is definitely worthy of a look.

The photography balances out the big, bright long wide shots, beautifully framed by big city skylines, with saturated darks in low light shadings to emphasize the sinister back room scheming.  Frank Griebe provides some imaginative camera work throughout.  In one amazing scene he uses a birds eye aerial shot that ultimately renders a political rally crowd as useless against the powers that be as the ones who are in charge of policing the IBBC.

This thriller delivers the whole pie with a mix of Three Days of the Condor,  The French Connection and Coppola’s own The Conversation, useful ingredients for this type of film.  Be sure to keep your eye on the thrilling Guggenheim Museum sequence, one that would make iconic film directors Hitchcock and Peckinpah turn the tombstones with postmortem envy.

— j. lucas walker
Film Critic of the Addlestone Library

This film is part of our Media Collections.
Call Number: PN1995.9.S87 I58 2009

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