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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    ‘The International’ lacks action and suspense

    One would think that a movie about rogue agents trying to bring down an international bank is exactly what Americans would like to see in the midst of the ongoing recession, or that the sight of Clive Owen gunning down bank-sanctioned hitmen in the middle of a crowded New York museum would bring a message of hope in trying social and economic times. However, in the case of “”The International,”” one would be sorely mistaken. One might, in fact, pray for Owen to turn his guns to the audience, and thus deliver them from this lingering, long-winded look at banking intrigue.

    “”The International”” focuses on the efforts of two idealistic agents in bringing down the corrupt, crime-oriented International Bank of Business and Credit (IBBC). Clive Owen reprises his no-bullshit tough-guy act from “”Sin City”” and “”Shoot ‘Em Up”” as INTERPOL agent Lois Salinger, the leading investigator into the IBBC’s shifty behavior. Along for the ride is the soft-spoken Naomi Watts as Manhattan assistant District Attorney Eleanor Whitman, who, like Watts in many cases, is really only useful so long as she’s looking pretty. Together

    Salinger and Whitman travel the globe – visiting such exotic locations as Luxembourg, Turkey and some abandoned lot on the Upper East Side – as they try to gather enough dirt on the unstoppable IBBC to bring them down once and for all!

    Unfortunately, the unstoppable IBBC is, well, unstoppable, and essentially no progress is made throughout the two-hour duration of the film. Though this lack of inertia certainly helps beat director Tom Tykwer’s message of helplessness home, it also stamps an enormous “”screw you”” on the foreheads of every audience member in the process. The movie starts slow, builds even slower, reaches its climax way too early, and then flounders in a puddle of its own drool for about 45 minutes before inevitably dying of boredom.

    Tykwer does everything in his power to turn the mundane into the suspenseful, employing some brilliant cinematography and a nerve-racking soundtrack in scenes of the heroes text-messaging or getting caught in traffic. Unfortunately, he does not provide the one thing everyone wants most: action. The only scene that makes the film watchable is an epic, if slightly unreasonable, shootout in the Guggenheim Museum that occurs about halfway through. But even this high-octane 15 minutes of clattering shell casings and collateral damage cannot forgive the zero-octane sludge that dominates the remaining 90 minutes of “”The International.”” In the final chase scene, Owen doesn’t even run for God’s sake! How apathetic does a director have to be to end a movie with dramatic speed walking?

    With the fistful of Oscar nominees permeating the market and Liam Neeson kicking ass in “”Taken”” in the theater next door, there’s really no excuse to subject yourself to “”The International.”” If bringing down the bank is what America needs right now, they’re better off robbing one.

    Rating: **

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