The International

Bank Thriller Holds Interest, 3 March 2009

Author: gary-444 from United Kingdom

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

A contemporary thriller featuring a corrupt bank, and the execution of banking officials, certainly scores on topicality. Overall, this attempt to deal with international terrorism, money laundering, fraud and geo-political power plays is quite enjoyable. One of the problems with financial misdeeds is that on screen, it is boring, and lacks dramatic impact. Director Tom Tykwer overcomes this by having people executed at regular intervals, and mixing it with the odd shoot out to pump up the action quotient.

Lead actor Clive Owen as international agent Louis Salinger is a serviceable enough action hero, Naomi Watts as his boss Eleanor Whitman though is totally miscast and lightweight. To his credit , Tykwer keeps the two hour running time ticking along, the drawback is that it is by a series of clichés and formulaic plot devices. You are never kept guessing as the plot unfolds.

Bank raids are exciting. Corporate plots to indebt third world country’s are not. However a big budget allows the action to shuttle between Berlin, Luxembourg, Italy, New York and Istanbul, pretty much evenly divided enabling a scenic shift alone to create some new interest. But for every bit of cerebral intrigue, we are “rewarded” with routine action fare. Watts is run over, which hurts, but seems none the worse for her ordeal. A “Jackal style” execution scene is handled with the sophistication that Frederick Forsyth could muster on the back of a business card, and a shoot -out in the Guggenheim Gallery in New York is so over-blown it could have been Rambo taking on all-comers in a firestorm of automatic weapon fire.

The climax is pure James Bond. And like Bond, so long as you don’t pay too much attention to the detail, it does it’s job pretty well without excelling either as an action movie, or densely plotted thriller

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