Tuesday, 4 May 2010

No.29 : The International



Here’s a film with a tough sell ; Clive Owen takes on a nasty bank. Is there any other kind? the world and his reviewing pals was heard to mutter. This bank isn’t interested in money however, they want power and influence and then money. If Goldman Sachs can make a billion a month you have to wonder why they bother. More fun most likely.

The film opens with Clive on a meet with a potential witness. Clive keeps lookout while his colleague gets the dirt on the titular bankers. As you’d guess it goes tits up when the partner gets it and it’s now personal for Clive.

Our man works for Interpol and has been frustrated by the lack of progress in his quest to bring the money men down. He’s helped along in some small measure by Naomi Watts’ ineffectual sidekick and a few cannon fodder cops. Clive’s early successes are soon undone by Neil from the Swindon branch and when a helpful Italian is shot the trail dries up. Luckily so does a puddle with the assassin’s boot print in it and soon we leave Europe for New York for a big shoot out at the Guggenheim that looks totally tacked on after the test screenings bombed and all the principles where in the USA when re-shoots were ordered.

With the net beginning to close around the bad guys Clive gives Naomi the rest of the movie off as he heads to Turkey for a disappointing finale.

With the cast in play here and a budget worthy of their attentions I had high hopes for ‘The International’ but ended up feeling a little overdrawn. Owen basically plays his ‘Children of Men’ bit with the dishevelled look and the don’t care for the consequences demeanour. He’s called ‘Salinger’ just to emphasise the loner bit and he frankly gets very little investment from the viewer. He’s got issues and sticks his head into a sink full of ice but it’s never really explored and we’re left to think his motivation is down to the poor interest rate on his ‘Super saver’ account.

The pedestrian pace of the film doesn’t help either with the running time a bloated two hours. There are inexplicable scenes where two dull men discuss the motivations of money and power and corruption and honour and I’m boring myself just remembering it. The action scenes are tacked on to an unbelievable degree with an hour of meetings interrupted by a ten minute gun battle before more meetings. In truth the museum shoot out is well realised but really far fetched with guns firing endless bullets and the cops no where to be seen in the biggest shoot out since the OK Corral.

The second string cast are pretty decent with a few familiar but unnameable faces showing up and doing a turn. It was funny to see Neil out of ‘The Office’ as a slimy lawyer who ends up getting it in the tunnel, but not in a good way.

There was probably a good film in here somewhere but it wasn’t the effort that ended up on the screen. Having the baddies as a bunch of suits was never going to pay off and the idea that they’d leverage the company to bankruptcy on a flimsy deal was totally unbelievable. Oh wait…

THE Tag Line : Overdrawn Bank Yarn Yields Little Interest 54%

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