The International

Posted February 12, 2009 in Film

Clive Owen will never be Bond—at least, not unless Daniel Craig loses his senses and decides he’d rather do Shakespeare. But Tom Tykwer’s cynical financial thriller plays like the perfect double feature for Quantum of Solace; like it, Tykwer and screenwriter Eric Singer are fixated on the idea that capitalists are evil spiders with the world caught in their web, and the moral line an antihero must cross to play by their cutthroat rules and beat them at their own game. With fewer explosions. Here, Owen plays an Interpol agent with a past history of something terrible and never clearly defined. He’s primed to get obsessive over clues that multinational bank IBBC is sowing debt and destruction; New York District Attorney Naomi Watts isn’t quite as devoted—she’s got a husband and a baby and a life—but she’s game to roam the globe alongside him in the Herculean task of trying to bring a cabal of rich, white men to justice. Part of the moody pleasure of Tykwer’s direction is the awareness that no matter how slick the film looks—every cool-toned frame could transform into a Lexus commercial—the undercurrent is very, very real, by which I mean hopeless, a loneliness heightened by the film’s avoidance of so much as a lingering hug between its two good looking stars. Only when violence breaks out does The International feel like a gee whiz spectacular with flashy assassinations and a knockout shootout sequence in the Guggenheim museum where the building’s smooth, round white walls get pocketed with bullet holes that look like an invasion of killer ants. 



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