The International (2009) Directed by Tom Twyker. With Clive Owen and Naomi Watts.
On this evidence it’s hard to believe that Tom Twyker is the same visionary that brought Run Lola Run to the screen with such style and verve, for The International is very much a workmanlike, no-frills thriller.
Depth of character is not high on the agenda as frustrated Interpol agent Clive Owen, joined by New York district attorney Naomi Watts -utterly wasted here- investigate wrongdoing at a high profile financial institution. The film steadily ambles along without ever becoming either challenging or engrossing. Clive Owens ‘Salinger’ is presented as a man on the edge, sweating his way through most of the film, but we’re never properly invited to get to know him or Naomi Watts’ Eleanor Whitman. Instead, we just follow them through a series of crime scenes, meetings and phone calls until it’s time for a big action set piece which, until a credibility stretching Bond-like climax – is well staged and easily the most impressive chapter in the film.
That said, some of the dialogue is interesting, offering musings on the cloak-and-dagger global agenda of the powerful financial organisation. Ultimately though, there’s a distinct absence of suspense and when the end finally comes – although Twyker is brave enough to not tie everything up in a neat bow – there’s a sense that a better film slipped away somehow.
Maybe if the film had been released a few years later, as the global credit crunch really took hold of the world, there may have been more meat on the bones. As it stands, as professional as it may be, The International lacks depth of character and is at best no more than functional. 2.5/5