The timing couldn’t be better: in the middle of the financial crisis a movie about a bank which is involved in thing like weapons-trafficking and directly helps rebellions overthrow their governments in exchange for the right to be the only bank in that country. Bastards! The International is about a big bank which is so powerful it clears everybody out of the way who’s trying to take some power away from the bank. Conspiracy nuts, get your aluminum hat on! It’s the International Bank of Business & Credit (IBBC) and it controls everything…
One of the recurring images in the marketing of The International is a shot of Clive Owen firing a (semi-)automatic weapon with Naomi Watts behind him. It’s one of those fabricated shots that never happens in the movie. Naomi, and I don’t mean to spoil something, isn’t involved in a gun fight. So why even use that shot as the DVD cover? To sell movies of course, but it is kind of misleading.
Having seen State Of Play last week it’s hard not to compare the two together as they both try to do the same thing; create a level of tension based upon the fact that anybody could get killed at any given moment. Having watched The International I can appreciate State Of Play even more. Somehow I never really cared for the characters in The International and when you don’t it’s hard to get a thrill out of the fact they could be the next victims of the bank.
Clive Owen has a shadowy past with the bank and his reasons are unclear as to why he’s so drive to bring down this bank. People constantly refer to his file. Here a crucial mistake is made. This develops a curiosity about him, while we want to care for him. If they put in a scene in the first reel with some sort of dramatic happening depicting why he;s after the bank we actually care for him. Now we just get curious and thinking; “well if he dies, maybe we’ll get is necrology and see what drove him.”
Same goes for Naomi Watts who was absent in almost every trailer that hit the web before it’s release. She’s just a District Attorney helping him but her role is obligatory and you might even call it and extended walk on role. She’s even missing in the last part of the movie when Owen flies all over the world to try to bring the bank down. And she left throughout the back door.
Now I’m sounding too harsh. The movie isn’t that bad and it does have a shooting in the Guggenheim that is really excellent. I loved the fact that, like a James Bond movie, there are settings used from all over the world. This is an international bank so it’s natural to give us international settings. I just wished the characters were more fleshed out.