Thursday, February 12, 2009

Savings, Checking, Conspiracy, and Murder

The International Bank of Business and Credit is the world’s premiere private banking institution for high-net-worth individuals and multinational corporations. With branches around the globe operated by top multidisciplinary experts in all aspects of banking and related fields….

At least so goes the company line.

The IBBC actually is more interested in brokering arms deals, selling missiles under the table to third world countries, and assassinating anyone who threatens its Luxembourg-based operations – a good thing since that’s exactly what drives The International’s story, a crisp thriller starring Clive Owen and Naomi Watts.

The two play Interpol Agent Louis Salinger and New York ADA Eleanor Whitman. They have been working together restlessly to bring to justice the IBBC, but when their case hits a roadblock (i.e., when one of their colleagues bites it), they begin to uncover myriad and reprehensible illegal activities that put them on a trail of money and blood that goes from Berlin to Milan to New York to Istanbul.

Finding themselves in a high-stakes chase they may sway but not win, their quest for justice endangers their lives as their powerful targets will stop at nothing – nothing, I tell ya! – to continue financing terror and war.

The International worked for me because, you know, one of the things I enjoy so is seeing Clive Owen on screen.

Another one is seeing Naomi Watts.

If you put the two together, add a fantastic centerpiece shoot ’em up scene set in New York’s Guggenheim museum, mix in a thought-provoking commentary on the dangers of a large banking system, and throw a measure of Brian F. O’Byrne as a killer for hire, you get a taut piece of entertainment that is hard to resist.

Sure, the movie could’ve been a tad shorter, but you can never get enough of Owen’s intense green-eyed stare.

My Rating ***

Photo: Sony Pictures.

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