International Movie Review: ‘International’ mixes style, substance

“The International” is equal parts globe-trotting thriller and architec-ture porn, as perfectly crystallized by its mind-blowing central set piece: a seemingly endless shootout at the Guggenheim Museum.

The back story of how Tom Tyk-wer and Co. shot it is about as com-plicated as the plot of the film itself. The scene is so elaborate and ambi-tious – and stands so totally apart from everything else that happens – it’s enough to make you wonder whether the earliest nugget of Eric Warren Singer’s script began with the idea: “Hey, this sounds crazy, but what if we staged a big, bloody shootout along Frank Lloyd Wright’s famously pristine, white ramps?”

World at his feet, Clive Interviews

BERLIN, Istanbul, London, Milan, New York, Adelaide. Clive Owen has seen them all over the past year, some for long enough to unpack and have his family visit, others flashing by like so many sped-up frames in a scene from the life of a successful actor.

Sometimes, such as when he was making German director Tom Tykwers’s thriller The International, he has to hit the ground running, ready to slot into major set pieces that big production teams had worked for months to organise.

“It takes real discipline to keep energising, keep on top all the time,” 44-year-old Owen says in a brief lay-over, this time in Los Angeles.

“You have to remember there’s no luxury of, like, a week to acclimatise.”

Cinema Blend Interview with Clive Owen

Clive Owen walks into the room wearing a suit and a smile. Do you really need to know what happens next? He’s one of the most charismatic actors working today, and sitting in a room with him you feel a little bit of that glow hitting you, both warming you and reminding you you’ll never, ever be so charming. Such is the fate of the schlubby journalist, I suppose.

Owen was on hand to promote The International, with producers Charles Roven and Richard Suckle beside him as well. We’ll stick to Owen’s answers for now, though– he is the talent after all. Read below for his experiences shooting that gorgeous action scene in the Guggenheim, how very little he got to see Istanbul, and why he’s actually glad he didn’t get to make out with Naomi Watts.

Clive Owen takes on bank in ‘International’, a new interview

A true action film will get only as much respect as its lead actor’s skills and reputation can give it. Even then, it’s only a matter of time before that good action film will be reclassified as a suspense or thriller.

“The International” could be a case in point. Directed by Tom Tykwer (“Run, Lola, Run”) it stars Clive Owen as an Interpol agent taking on a Goliath-size global bank and exposing its corrupt practices via lots of action, suspense and thrills. True to its title, “The International” was filmed in five countries and two continents and co-stars Naomi Watts. We checked in with Owen, the film’s unconventional action hero with extra passport stamps, who spoke to us by phone from Los Angeles.

Q: What made you want to take on the lead role in “The International”?

A: It was a combination of reading the script and speaking with the director, Tom Tykwer. It reminded me of one of those ’70s paranoid thrillers. It was well researched and still a great, sweeping and entertaining thriller.

Screen Rant Review: The International

The International starts out with a strong espionage vibe but is weakened when it strays into “action movie” territory.

I really wanted to walk out of The International having loved it, but the best I can manage is that overall I liked it a lot.

It’s the story of Louis Salinger (Clive Owen), and INTERPOL agent working in France and his attempt to implicate a mega-banking firm in arms dealing. I loved how the film opens – the very first frame puts you right into the film with no preamble. Louis and his partner are trying to “turn” a bank executive and get him to provide evidence of the bank’s misdeeds. Things do not go well within a few short minutes.

It seems that everyone is against Louis and he can make no headway in his investigation. People are being killed and “disappeared” but there is no concrete evidence of the bank’s involvement. He is soon joined by American FBI operative Eleanor Whitman (Naomi Watts), who has been attempting to work the case state-side, and has also been running into roadblocks.