For those who don't know it, I am a huge Clive Owen fan. I'm one of those people who say that you could do a whole movie of just a closeup of him and I'd be happy. The International made me very happy. Not only is it Clive Owens' movie but the whole first minute is just a close-up of Clive Owens. And it gets better from there.
I think The International is the first intelligent thriller of the year. The globe trotting movie has splendid scenery and a great story about a large multinational bank that is working to control the world's supply of small arms, the kind used in 98% of the ongoing skirmishes throughout the globe, and the small group of law enforcement personnel who are working to stop the bank. The bankers are suitably loathsome and cut throat, with their own personal assassin on call.
The movie avoids the usual cliches of the investigator and beautiful woman on the run and in love in amongst all the shootouts. Instead you see Clive Owens as an Interpol agent, and how long has it been since Interpol has been mentioned in a thriller?, and Naomi Watts as a New York District Attorney. The two work well together and care for each other as colleagues but Naomi has a perfectly lovely family at home - this is a woman with work/life balance worked out. They manage to retain their jobs through most of the movie so you get to see several scenes of employee and boss clashing about their work objectives.
The movie has several thrilling scenes - I won't ruin it but I may never go to the Guggenheim Museum again since it seems to have no emergency exits which is not a good thing - and a wonderful chase through the streets of Milan. The violence is very realistic and graphic but that adds to the tension in the movie. It also has a great twisty ending. Here's hoping for the International 2.
The movie is definitely not one to take the kids to. But if you like the Bourne movies only without all the jiggly camera work and confusing abrupt cuts and you are really hating on banks right now - this is the movie for you.