The International Reviews
The star of the pic may well be NYC's Guggenheim Museum and Istanbul's Grand Bazaar, both of which figure in cool action chase sequences that pay handsome dividends.
Clive Owen may have lost the chance of playing 007, but he can still carry off an action movie, and proves it in this smart and handsomely made corporate conspiracy thriller from German director Tom Tykwer and first-time screenwriter Eric Singer.
A fairly good thriller with mixed-bag elements: preposterous plot, smartly elegant direction, one of the worst recent performances by a major actress, and a dynamite stick of an action scene that can stand close to the greats.
The International almost seems like a Monty Python spoof on spy-game thrillers in which the phrase 'secret agent' is constantly replaced by 'banker,' resulting in lines like, '...If I die, 100 other bankers take my place.'
The script tries to explain how this improbable alliance happened, but it never does make much sense, which is a recurrent theme in this overly complicated conspiracy tale.
The International is a sleek, engaging example of a peculiar form of escapist entertainment, a favorite, in fact: It's a thriller that eases us away from our present worries without fully erasing a resonance with life beyond the multiplex.
Killer banks may be new to the movies, but there's nothing else original in this if-it's-Tuesday-this-must-be-Istanbul thriller, with its portentous globe-hopping and racing through colorful street bazaars.
Some thrillers settle into a rut of adequacy, rarely spiking above or below the baseline. Not The International. Director Tom Tykwer's new picture is all over the place, geographically and in terms of audience satisfaction.
The pace is fast and the action, particularly a mind-boggling shoot-'em-up in the Guggenheim Museum, furious enough. But the less-conventional elements are in many ways even more effective.