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Clive Owen in The International

Please Note


R for some sequences of violence and language


Action, Thriller, Drama


Feb. 13, 2009


Clive Owen, Naomi Watts, Armin Mueller-Stahl, Ulrich Thomsen, Brian O Byrne


Tom Tykwer


Sony Pictures Releasing


Please Note

In providing movie reviews on our site, is not endorsing or recommending films we review. Our goal is to provide Christians with information about the latest movies, both the good and the bad, so that our readers may make an informed decision as to whether or not films are appropriate for them and their families.


The International

By Hannah Goodwyn Producer - The International is a modern-day Jack Ryan story. Not unlike Tom Clancy's hero played by Harrison Ford in Patriot Games and Clear and Present Danger, Interpol agent Louis Salinger uses his detective prowess to neutralize his enemy. He is no Jason Bourne or 007. But he does evolve into a believable hero, who tirelessly works every lead in order to take down the most powerful crime organization in the world.

The Movie in a Minute

Interpol agent Louis Salinger’s obsession with toppling the organized crime power of the IBBC is derailed when a secret meeting ends with his partner dead. For years, Salinger has tracked this corrupt financial institution. Now, he’s working with Eleanor Whitman, a Manhattan assistant district attorney, to expose the IBBC’s behind-the-scenes transactions: involvement in arms dealing, funding coups, and the pitiless murder of all those who get too close or betray them. The bank’s extensive infiltration in world governments makes it almost impossible to know who to trust as they seek to uncover the truth.

Recounting the Story

The International comes together under the brilliant direction of Tom Tykwer, who is known for his 90’s hit, Run, Lola, Run. Written by Eric Singer, it is based on the real-life corruption at the BCCI (Bank of Credit & Commerce International), which became the focus of intense investigation by U.S. and U.K. authorities in the early 1990s for its support of terrorism, arms trafficking, the sale of nuclear technologies, among other activities.

For the most part, Singer’s storyline isn't too far-fetched, and is easy to follow. Of course, a few surprises are in store for moviegoers -- as expected from thriller movies. However, one or two instances seem too illogical. But, maybe that's just one critic dissecting it a little too much.

Singer's story is laced with well-intentioned themes: the power of debt, the responsibility of choice, and the cost of justice. The IBBC gained its power by holding the debt owed them over the heads of business and state. These debtors essentially became their slaves, doing anything to repay the "generosity" of the bank. Choice comes into play when one of the main characters is asked to flip for the other side, to betray his cause. It's argued that life chooses paths for you, and rebutted with strong lines that personal choice dictates how we live. And at one point, Salinger himself must decide if his vigilante justice can lead to true justice. After all of his hard work to corner the corruption, he has to either go after them alone or let them continue their crimes.

The movie's analyst hero, Louis Salinger, is brought to life by Clive Owen (King Arthur, Inside Man). The British actor's command of the “little guy” character makes it a memorable performance as he fights a Goliath of an enemy. His supporting cast of Armin Mueller-Stahl and Ulrich Thomsen also deliver as strong bank execs who are capable of ordering murders for the sake of retaining their power. They are calm and cool about the bank's illegal dealings; your run-of-the mill white-collar terrorists.

One disappointment is in Naomi Watts (King Kong, The Painted Veil), who fails to impress at the same level of her cast mates. The chemistry between Watts and Owen is lacking and her character was undeveloped. The role of A.D.A. Eleanor Whitman just didn't seem like the perfect fit for the accomplished Naomi Watts.

Be Forewarned

The extreme violence alone is enough to convince parents and kids to bypass this movie. Although the majority of the violence is captured in one or two scenes, the gravity of the bloody action shown will make most moviegoers cringe.

Profanity is used by a number of characters throughout the movie.

The International is a decent thriller about a man who wants to destroy a corporate organized crime organization that finances terror. But, with all of the violence it has and the current economic crisis plaguing the country, this is one critic who will not be surprised if the box office numbers on Sunday are lower than producers want.

Hannah GoodwynHannah Goodwyn serves as a producer for and She also writes regularly for these sites. For more articles and information, visit Hannah's bio page.

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