The International

The International ★★★★

"The International" has a thoroughly compelling story of a corrupt International Bank and it's underworld dealings with unscrupulous arms dealers and foreign dictators.
The fictional IBBC bank is under investigation from both the New York Attorney's office and Interpol. With it's global network extending into money-laundering, illegal arms trades and government destabilization, it has come to the attention of law enforcement agencies who seem to be thwarted at every attempt to investigate them. Clive Owen plays a crusading Interpol Agent who has become obsessed with justice and bringing down the bank. Aided and abetted by Naomi Watts's New York DA this sees Owen's agent Salinger traverse the globe from Berlin to Milan to New York to Istanbul. It has a clever and complex story of intrigue and corruption that has some sinister individuals leading Owen and his cohorts a merry dance. Ruthlessly disposing of Owen's investigative partner and then an Italian Prime-ministerial candidate who had offered him help and information, they turn their attention to the shooter.
The heads of the IBBC are under time pressure for a deal with an arms dealer for guidance chips for missiles and in their greed murder a rival politician. From then on the film ups the ante with some stunning chase and action sequences. This does have the feel of a paranoia inducing seventies conspiracy thriller and with more frenetic action than some Bond films, this does have a lot going for it. Tom Twyer directs the action with panache and more than a little flair especially the climactic shoot-out at New York Guggenheim Museum. It's gutsy, ballsy and full of visual treats that combine action and spectacle. Owen is compulsively convincing as Salinger and although Watts does her bit, it is down to the banks protagonists to produce the acting kudos. Armin Mueller-Stahl as the bank's security expert and ex-Stasi Colonel is both ruthless and profound in his straight-forward approach to obstacles. His presence certainly adds quality to a production that is both believable and politically relevant in today's society. Twyker has made a decent fist of this thriller that has borrowed aspects from the real life case of the BCCI scandal of a few years ago and delivered something well worth seeing.

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