February 9, 2009 by  

The International


The International

Clive Owen and Naomi Watts star in "The International."

Starring: Clive Owen, Naomi Watts, Armin Mueller-Stahl
Directed by: Tom Tykwer(“Perfume: The Story of a Murderer”)
Written by: Eric Singer (debut)

Part suspense-thriller, part front-page newspaper story, “The International” has all the pieces that made films like “Syriana” and “The Constant Gardener” so interesting, but debut screenwriter Eric Singer drags out the third act into so much convoluted dialogue and plot you wish he would have quit while he was ahead.

Directed with much enthusiasm by Tom Tykwer, who gave us the provocative film “Perfume: The Story of a Murderer” in 2006, “The International” tells the story of Louis Salinger (Clive Owen), an Interpol agent looking for the link between a powerful financial institution and a ring of small arms dealers. The International Bank Business and Credit (IBBC) has some skeletons in their closet. When Louis finds out they have been purchasing missile guidance systems, people associated with the crimes and the bank start coming up dead.

As Eleanor Whitman, a New York City assistant district attorney, Naomi Watts seems wasted and idly tossed into the all-male cast, which includes Armin Mueller-Stahl (“Shine”) as the man behind the curtain. The plot, too, has its problems staying on track especially when the story switches from a talky, timely, and somewhat compelling political grudge match to a balls-out action flick with an clumsily placed shootout in the middle of the Guggenheim Museum.

Blame it on reshoots if you want (Columbia Pictures is bound to), but “The International” is in dire need of two good editors: one in the cutting room and the other hovering over Singer at his computer with a finger on the backspace button just in case he decided to go overboard.

Grade: C

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