Call to arms…
Banks have become the shadowy, moustache-twirling villains of the modern world, and so Tom Twyker’s The International, which has at its heart a financial institution of the most dastardly kind, couldn’t have come at a better time. But, despite its topical story and rip-roaring, globe-trotting narrative, it all falls a little bit flat.
When Interpol agent Lou Salinger (Clive Owen) teams up with Manhattan District Attorney Eleanor Whitman (Naomi Watts) to investigate the truth behind the International Bank of Business and Credit (IBBC), a huge bank with links to international crime and arms dealing, he knows it’s not going to be an easy case to break. But he hadn’t reckoned on just how far IBBC would go to keep the true nature of their business under wraps, and is soon embroiled on a global fight for justice – and for his life…
It certainly has elements of modern actioners like The Bourne trilogy and Bond, and includes some impressive set pieces such as a jaw-dropping shoot out set in the confines of New York’s iconic Guggenheim museum. Owen is typically solid as a rough around the edges, realistic hero; he’s not as slick as Bond or as indestructible as Bourne but he’s got the smarts to stay alive and get the job done. Watts lends reliable support, although her character is not as fleshed out as Owen’s and her DA Whitman is generally more background dressing than at the forefront of the action.
Where the film falls down, however, is in the quiet moments between the gunfire. The story is worthy, but that necessitates chunks of dialogue about the finer points of financing international warfare which slow down proceedings and are, at times, boring. And it also results in an unbalanced tone; one minute it’s edge of the seat explosive action, the next bum-numbing exposition. Neither Twyker nor screenwriter Eric Warren Singer don’t seem to know if they want their film to be balls-out actioner or thought-provoking thriller, and so haven’t managed to get the right balance between the two. As such, there are frequent glimpses of what The International could have been, which makes for a rather frustrating viewing experience. 3 stars
There’s a commentary with the director and writer, plus featurettes on various aspects of making the film including the Guggenheim shoot out. The Blu-ray release also has a Picture-in-Picture funtion plus Cinechat. 3 stars
Stars Naomi Watts, Clive Owen
Director Tom Twyker
Distributor Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Format DVD & Blu-ray
Released July 6