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The International

Bankers appear to be this year’s villains of choice.  Long bearing the scorn of customers worldwide, current events have put their reputations further into society’s black ledger.  The International does nothing to help their sullied status, with its financial conspirators dealing in the most ghastly of human deeds.
Interpol agent Louis Salinger (Clive Owen) is an analytical thinker determined to fight injustices.  His latest target is the IBBC, one of the world’s largest banks.  Discovering a cavalcade of nefarious activities including arms deals and money laundering, he is aided in his quest by New York District Attorney Eleanor Whitman (Naomi Watts). Travelling the globe in a bid to destroy their tentacles of power, the duo finds that money and murder can be mutually deadly currencies.
Occasionally it helps to have a healthy suspicion about movies featuring a litany of foreign locales.  Whilst The International boasts some magnificent scenery, it eventually becomes clear these become window dressing for a rather circumspect script.  The ingredients are set for an exciting tale which, more or less, are mostly realised.  What perhaps unsticks much needed punch is the many exposition scenes talking through the action rather than partaking in it.  For a film promising, and indeed showing, the world it ultimately fails to fully deliver in amongst the many moments of men in suits casually planning its domination.
When the film works however it works beautifully.  The actual story itself is very intriguing with the might of the bank against two humble agents making for mostly compelling viewing.  The major set-piece featuring a battle in a New York museum is stunning in its execution, showing that with better blending of action/character scenes, proceedings could have been more memorable.  Clive Owen and Naomi Watts are quite good in their roles, although Owen’s constant scowling at the camera is no compensation for genuine character development.
It’s a brave film that tries to discard the usual thriller elements in favour of something more thoughtful.  Almost a success in that regard, had it bitten a little more from action convention, its themes of monetary manipulation may have better transcended the formula the screenplay seemed to demand. 
Rating out of 10:  6

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