Like the assassin knocking off loose ends to a conspiracy, “The International” operates with clinical precision. It takes its time and zeroes in with icy execution.
It’s what you want in a globe-trotting thriller — a taut, believable and mostly enthralling two hours, populated with solid acting. It just requires a little more patience than modern-day audiences are used to.
Clive Owen (“Sin City”) is a disgraced former Scotland Yard detective named Salinger who now works for INTERPOL trying to unravel the mystery of a bank dealing with seedy clients. He’s teamed up with a tough New York district attorney (Naomi Watts) to hunt down a hitman who has been killing people threatening to testify against the international bank.The bank works with organized crime and weapons dealers, outfitting sides in global conflicts so it can feed off the debt the wars produce.Both investigators are tracking down witnesses to the bank’s operations, yet every time they get close to one, the hitman strikes again on behalf of the bank. That leads the duo to a host of international countries, including Germany, Italy and a spectacular shoot-out in the Guggenheim Museum in New York.
The movie, directed by German filmmaker Tom Tykwer (“Perfume: The Story of Murderer”), is an efficient thriller that doesn’t stray from the main story, especially not succumbing to Hollywood’s usual urge to throw in a love relationship. It sticks to the trail of worldwide corruption and rewards with several suspenseful encounters as Salinger and his partner go deeper and deeper into the conspiracy.
Tykwer is a talented director who produces clean imagery and spectacular production values. Only because of the movie’s sometimes plodding pacing, particularly in the second half when the investigation gets bogged down, does the movie feel longer than it needs to be.
But thrillers like “The International” are rare, let alone good ones. For fans of a genre that never gets its due, this is an action movie that mostly feels right — like a page-turner with exotic backdrops.
Rating: 3/4 Stars
Source: The Salt Lake Tribune